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Down And Out Blues

Andy Preer's
Cotton Club Orchestra


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Feat. Earres Prince


Recorded in New York City on January 6th 1925 featuring Andy Preer violin & director, Sidney de Paris, R. Q. Dickerson, and Lammar Wright or Louis Metcalf trumpets, De Priest Wheeler trombone, Eli Logan and Walter Thomas or George Scott clarinet & alto sax, Andrew Brown clarinet & tenor sax, Earres Prince piano, Charley Stamps banjo, Jimmy Smith bass brass, and Leroy Maxey drums.

*"Down And Out Blues" was composed by Arthur Sizemore.

Situated in the heart of Harlem on the second floor of a building at 644 Lexington and the corner of West 142nd Street the establishment first opened its doors in 1920 as a restaurant intended for intimate dining called Club Deluxe owned by heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Bootlegger, Owney Madden took over in 1923 and renamed it The Cotton Club and it would soon become the hottest jazz club in Harlem or in all of New York for that matter. Of course it was the musicians that made The Cotton Club what it was, a premier "white's only" venue of the prohibition era that employed top black entertainers in revues featuring singers and dancers, comedy and variety acts, and of course a house jazz band.

Beginning in 1924 that ensemble was directed by Andy Preer and one of its most important members the group's pianist Earres Prince has frequently been overlooked. Earres Martin Prince was born in Jackson, Missouri on September 26th 1896 and first learned to play by way of lessons taken during his youth. He knew a number of his band mates since childhood and after a period of military service working in a freight office as a private in the 164th Depot Brigade in 1918, he once again established himself as a local musician in St. Louis. In the Spring of 1923 Earres along with De Priest Wheeler, Eli Logan, Andy Brown, Jimmy Smith, and Leroy Maxey were hired by violinist Wilson Robinson to play the West coast Pantages circuit theaters. The next season would bring them East playing venues on the Orpheum circuit at which time Andy Preer assumed control of the band. Earres Prince was a terrific pianist representative of St. Louis but his style was also comparable to that of Chicago as he was accused at times for playing too many notes. Unfortunately it was exactly this unique sound that eventually led to his ejection from the band in March of 1931 after it had come under the leadership of Cab Calloway. It seems the young singer had certain expectations for the type of sound that his band should have and Earres Prince simply didn't fit the mold.

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