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Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson

15 мая 2008, 11:22:18

Born Frankie Robinson, the youngest of six children, in Detroit in 1940, "Sugar Chile" began pounding on the family piano as a toddler - he reputedly banged out a recognisable version of Erskine Hawkins' Tuxedo Junction at the age of two - and by 1945 he had been "discovered" by pianist and bandleader Frankie Carle. Within a year he was asked to play at a Whitehouse party for President Harry Truman, had guested with Lionel Hampton's Orchestra and even appeared performing the title song in the 1946 MGM romantic comedy film "No Leave, No Love". It was not until July 1949, however, that he made his first records for the Capitol label, when, in the consummate company of jazz veterans Leonard Bibbs on bass and drummer Zutty Singleton, Robinson took his first two releases into the Billboard R&B chart in late 1949; Numbers Boogie made it to number four, while Caldonia (What Makes Your Big Head So Hard) only reached number 14. His subsequent national tour broke box-office records eve rywhere and it is claimed that his appearance at Chicago's Regal Theatre remains the biggest one-week attraction of the theatre's entire history, easily beating the jazz royalty of the day like Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Robinson toured with Basie in 1950 and made a celebrated musical short with the Basie Sextet and Billie Holiday in Hollywood in August to showcase his hits.


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