Piano, leader, vocals
b. Salinas, Kansas - 18 July, 1910; d. 28 April 1983
Charles LaVere (Charles LaVere Johnson) is principally remembered for a set of irresistible
recordings made with his Chicago Loopers, a studio group featuring Jack Teagarden, Billy May,
Matty Matlock, George Van Eps, Floyd O’Brien and little-known cornetist Rico Vallese. The man
behind these sessions was at the time one of Hollywood’s busiest musicians, a studio regular
who accompanied Bing Crosby (1939-47) and played on sessions for a multitude of stars,
having already worked with Teagarden, Wingy Manone and Paul Whiteman. A capable singer and fine composer,
LaVere later played at Disneyland (1955-9) and with Bob Crosby, but his Chicago Loopers remain his seminal
contribution to jazz history. [DF]
LaVere’s Chicago Loopers (1944-50; Jump). Recorded in four sessions, these titles have become the definition of Dixieland
perfection; the superbly arranged “ Carolina In The Morning” and LaVere’s own lovely “It’s All In Your Mind” are highlights,
but all sixteen tracks are essential listening.
- Quoted and amended from: Jazz - The Rough Guide (Penguin, 1955).