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Joe Bushkin

Joe Bushkin (November 7, 1916 – November 3, 2004) was an American jazz pianist.

Born in New York City, Bushkin began his career by playing trumpet and piano with New York City dance bands, including Frank LaMare's Band at the Roseland Ballroom in Brooklyn. He joined Bunny Berigan's band in 1935, played with Eddie Condon from 1936–37, and with Max Kaminsky and Joe Marsala, before rejoining Berigan in 1938. He then left to join Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band in 1939. From the late 1930s through to the late 1940s he also worked with Tommy Dorsey & Eddie Condon on records, radio and television. He worked with Dorsey for Bing Crosby in 1940 on The Road To Morocco soundtrack and several commercial sessions. Wartime United States army air corp turned him back into a trumpeter; he also recorded with Lester Young on piano and directed music for Moss Hart’s morale-booster Winged Victory on Broadway for six months before serving in the South Pacific. After his service in World War II he worked with Louis Armstrong, Bud Freeman and Benny Goodman.

Bushkin performed with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton singing vocals for the famed ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The concert was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on June 7, 1953. Also featured that day were Roy Brown and his Orchestra, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, Earl Bostic, Nat "King" Cole, and Shorty Rogers and his Orchestra.

He married Francice Netcher, elder sister of socialite Mollie Wilmot. The couple had four children – Nina, Maria, Terasa, and Christina. They lived in Santa Barbara, California, on a ranch.

His best-known composition might be "Oh! Look at Me Now", with John DeVries, written when he worked in Tommy Dorsey's band. That song would become Frank Sinatra's second hit and one of his most enduring songs right after "Polkadots & Moonbeams."

One of Bushkin's television appearances was on a thirty-minute Judy Garland musical special produced for the General Electric Theater which aired on April 8, 1956 on the CBS Television Network. According to Coyne Steven Sanders, author of the book Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show, Bushkin was a last-minute replacement for the classic pianist Leonard Pennario. On that program, he accompanied Garland on piano as she sang the songs Last Night When We Were Young and Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries. (Sanders, Coyne Steven, Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show pgs. 20-21 - Zebra Books - Kensington Publishing Company).

In his 60s, Bushkin's semi-retirement was ended by an offer from Bing Crosby for them to tour together in 1976 and 1977; Bushkin also appeared on Crosby's 1975 Christmas TV special with Fred Astaire. He also performed in a concert series at New York's St. Regis hotel in 1984 that celebrated his 50 years in show business.

Bushkin died in Santa Barbara, California, in 2004. "He had hoped to live to 88, as a piano had 88 keys."

Birth and Death Data: Born November 7th, 1916 (New York City), Died November 3rd, 2004 (Santa Barbara)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1939 - 1965

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, composer

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 70 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-043375 10-in. 11/10/1939 At the jazz band ball Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043376 10-in. 11/10/1939 I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate George Brunis ; Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043377 10-in. 11/10/1939 Dipper mouth blues Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043378 10-in. 11/10/1939 Livery stable blues (Barnyard blues) Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043894 10-in. 11/22/1939 Riverboat shuffle Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043895 10-in. 11/22/1939 Relaxin' at the Touro Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043896 10-in. 11/22/1939 At sundown Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-043897 10-in. 11/22/1939 Bluin' the blues Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045745 10-in. 12/12/1939 Lonesome road Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045746 10-in. 12/12/1939 Dinah George Brunis ; Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045747 10-in. 12/12/1939 (What did I do to be so) Black and blue Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-045748 10-in. 12/12/1939 Mandy, make up your mind Ragtime Band [Muggsy Spanier] Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-048939 10-in. 4/23/1940 East of the sun (and west of the moon) Tommy Dorsey ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance octet, with male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-048940 10-in. 4/23/1940 Head on my pillow Tommy Dorsey ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance octet, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-051278 10-in. 6/13/1940 Funny Little Pedro Tommy Dorsey ; The Pied Pipers ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-051279 10-in. 6/13/1940 Whispering Tommy Dorsey ; The Pied Pipers ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal ensemble instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-051280 10-in. 6/13/1940 Quiet please! (It's the drummer in me) Tommy Dorsey ; Buddy Rich ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance band, with drum solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-051878 10-in. 7/17/1940 So what! Tommy Dorsey ; Don Lodice ; Sentimentalists Jazz/dance band, with tenor saxophone solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-055108 10-in. 10/16/1940 Swing time up in Harlem Connie Haines ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-055109 10-in. 10/16/1940 Swing high Ziggy Elman ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with trumpet soloist instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-055110 10-in. 10/16/1940 Do you know why Frank Sinatra ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-055111 10-in. 10/16/1940 Isn't that just like love Connie Haines ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor PBS-055112 10-in. 10/16/1940 Swanee River Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BS-058760 10-in. 1/6/1941 Oh! Look at me now Connie Haines ; The Pied Pipers ; Frank Sinatra ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female-male vocal duet and male vocal ensemble composer  
Victor BS-060617 10-in. 2/4/1941 Oh! Look at me now Bob Chester Orchestra ; Bill Darnell Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
(Results 1-25 of 70 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bushkin, Joe," accessed April 19, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660.

Bushkin, Joe. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660.

"Bushkin, Joe." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 19 April 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105660

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