All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Mezz Mezzrow

Mezz Mezzrow Mezz Mezzrow

Mezz Mezzrow was born in Chicago in 1899 and was one of that city's most popular clarinetists during the golden jazz age of the twenties. Many of Mezzrow's records reveal his deep feeling for the blues and his playing is characterized by well-thought lines, frequent agility and an appealingly acid tone, but despite touring regularly with various bands and with Louis Armstrong, his most notable contribution to jazz history is his autobiography, Really the Blues, written with Bernard Wolfe, first published in 1946. It is its unbounded vitality that so captures the revolution which jazz represented to the youth of Chicago in the twenties, and even more that of Harlem in the thirties and forties.

He learned to play the saxophone in the Potomac Reformatory School where he was sentenced at the age of 16 for car theft. During his late teens he discovered jazz, and went on to emulate the musicians Freddie Keppard, Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Noone and many others. He took up the clarinet and so started his life in the jazz world.

Mezzrow was adept at both clarinet and tenor, and there are recordings of him in the late 1920’s with the Jungle Kings, the Chicago Rhythm Kings, and Eddie Condon’s band. He played throughout the ‘30’s as a member of various swing bands, which at times included Benny Carter and Teddy Wilson. A highlight of the period for him was his recording in 1938 for French producer Hugh Panassie, which joined him up with his idol Sidney Bechet.

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

Watch

Similar

Sidney Bechet Sidney Bechet
saxophone, soprano
Lionel Hampton Lionel Hampton
vibraphone
Johnny Dodds Johnny Dodds
clarinet
Charlie Barnet Charlie Barnet
composer/conductor
Jimmie Lunceford Jimmie Lunceford
composer/conductor
Barney Bigard Barney Bigard
clarinet
Bud Freeman Bud Freeman
saxophone, tenor
Lucky Millinder Lucky Millinder
composer/conductor
Jimmie Noone Jimmie Noone
clarinet
Jabbo Smith Jabbo Smith
trumpet

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.