Singer and dancer Cab Calloway was born on December 25, 1907, in Rochester, New York. He landed a gig performing regularly at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. He’s associated with 1930s Jazz and his 1931 hit “Minnie the Moocher” is considered to be one of the first recordings to feature scat singing. He appeared on stage and made films, including the 1979 movie The Blues Brothers, before his death in 1994.
Singer, bandleader, dancer. Born Cabell Calloway III on December 25, 1907, in Rochester, New York. A charming, vibrant performer, Cab Calloway is often associated with the jazz music of the 1930s. Sometimes called the “hi-de-hi-de-ho man,” he perfected the art of scat singing, which uses nonsensical sounds to improvise melodies.
After playing in Chicago, Calloway went to New York and landed a gig at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. As the bandleader of Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, he was a regular performer at the popular nightspot. In 1931, he scored a hit with the song “Minnie the Moocher,” which is considered by some to be first recording to feature scat singing. His other hits included “Kickin’ the Gong Around” (1931), “Moon Glow” (1934), and “The Jumpin’ Jive” (1939).
Besides his musical act, Cab Calloway also appeared on stage and in films. During the 1930s and 1940s, he worked in such films as The Big Broadcast (1932), The Singing Kid (1936), and Stormy Weather (1943).
Cab Calloway spent two years in the cast of a revival of the musical Porgy and Bess, beginning in 1952. He also performed in other stage productions over the years and made more film appearances, most notably in the 1979 movie The Blues Brothers. During the film, Calloway put on his trademark white tie and tails and performed “Minnie the Moocher.”
Cab Calloway died on November 18, 1994.