Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman celebrate a pioneering trumpeter who performed with some of the biggest names in jazz.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you.
And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.
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Oran “Hot Lips” Page was born Jan. 27, 1908, in Dallas. His mother was a music teacher, and by the time he was 12, Oran Page could play trumpet, clarinet and saxophone. After attending college and working for a time in the Texas oil fields, Page began touring professionally with legendary blues singer Ma Rainey. He quickly earned a reputation for his dynamic trumpet solos and went on to play with such blues and jazz greats as Bessie Smith and Pearl Bailey. Throughout the 1930s, Page was one of the most sought-after sidemen in the world of jazz. He performed with Count Basie, Bennie Moten, Artie Shaw and many other prominent band leaders. During the 1940s, Hot Lips Page enjoyed a brief solo career. However, he eventually returned to working as a sideman, recording and touring throughout North America and Europe with some of jazz music’s biggest stars.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll remember a country music DJ who wrote one of the most recognizable hits of early rock and roll.