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Blue Devil Blues

Walter Page's Blue Devils


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Walter Sylvester Page
(February 9th 1900 - December 20th 1957)


Recorded in Kansas City, Missouri on November 10th 1929 featuring Jimmy Rushing vocals, Hot Lips Page and James Simpson trumpet, Dan Minor trombone, Buster Smith clarinet & alto sax, Ted Manning alto saxophone, Reuben Roddy tenor sax, William "Count" Basie piano, Reuben Lynch guitar, Walter Page tuba, and Alvin Borroughs drums.

*"Blue Devil Blues" was composed by Jewell "Babe" Stovall.

Walter Sylvester Page was born in Gallatin, Missouri on February 9th 1900 and showed an interest in music,
in the form of spirituals and folk songs, since early childhood.

In 1910 Walter moved to Kansas City with his mother where exposure to the city's rich culture prompted
his first musical experience playing bass horn with neighborhood bands.

While he was attending Lincoln High School, Walter started playing string bass under the tutelage of retired military bandleader turned music instructor Major N. Clark Smith who gave him his first formal training.

After high school he would study at the University of Kansas at Lawrence were he reportedly completed
a three year music course in only one year, and went on to teach.

Walter also drew early inspiration from bassist Wellman Braud and he played part time with "Bennie Moten's
K.C. Orchestra"
from 1918 to 1923.

In 1923 Walter Page left Bennie Moten to tour with "Billy King's Road Show" on the TOBA circuit working with Jimmy Rushing and Count Basie.

When the band broke up in 1925 Walter Page was there to pick up the pieces forming the "Blues Devils" and touring the Southwest by car playing various clubs and dance halls.

Over the course of the new band's eight year run between 1925 and 1933 when they disbanded, members included prominent Kansas City jazz figures Count Basie, Hot Lips Page, Jimmy Rushing, Eddie Durham,
Jo Jones, and Lester Young.

The entire group including Walter Page himself was eventually absorbed by "Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra" beginning with Count Basie in 1929.

Walter Page died unexpectedly from pneumonia on December 20th 1957 after becoming ill traveling to a
recording session during a snow storm.

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