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The Other Cotton Club Orchestra

supplement to

The Duke – Where and When
A Chronicle of Duke Ellington's Working Life and Travels

Since "The Duke - Where and When" is very large, I moved some material to supporting webpages. This one is about the OTHER Cotton Club orchestra
This webpage was created and is maintained by David Palmquist,
with considerable input from fellow researchers
Last updated

Newspaper ads, announcements and reports in 1928 from various locations outside New York named the Cotton Club Orchestra, the Original Cotton Club Orchestra, and the New York Cotton Club Orchestra.

These clearly weren't Ellington's orchestra at the Cotton Club, so who were they?

In replying to my September 2018 question in Duke-LYM, Remco Plas suggested the group might have been the orchestra Ellington's band replaced when it started at the Cotton Club.

Further research confirms this to be so:

Andry Preer and the CottonClub Orch., Gennett record label
Gennett 6056-B label
Andy Preer & The Cotton Club Orchestra
I Found a New Baby

Click to Enlarge

The house band at the Cotton Club in New York from 1924 until 1927 was Andy Preer's Cotton Club Orchestra, later known as The Missourians.

After Preer died in March 1927, his band stayed on until it was replaced on December 4, when the Cotton Club, first having offered the job to King Oliver, hired Ellington and his orchestra.

The remnants of Preer's band toured in an Earl Dancer revue starring Ethel Waters, and then teamed up with a song and dance team on the vaudeville circuit.

Billed and referred to as the Original Cotton Club Orchestra, Cotton Club Orchestra and New York Cotton Club Orchestra, this band eventually returned to New York, taking up residency at the Savoy Ballroom and subbing for the Ellington orchestra at the Cotton Club during the summer of 1930. Cab Calloway was made its leader, and it once more became the house band at the Cotton Club when Ellington took his band on the road February 1931.

Page designed by
David Palmquist
Delta, BC, Canada