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From the Land of Band Box Records

The Denver Kid’s Journey Through the World of Jazz

Jazz trumpet player extraordinaire, Paul Qunichette, was a native of Denver – born in the Mile High City in May of 1916.  Over the course of his career Quinichette played with a literal ‘who’s who’ during the golden age of jazz.

He started off playing the clarinet and then moving to alto saxophone before settling on tenor sax – developing a style which would draw comparisons to Lester Young – a comparison which some believe hindered his securing his own firm identity within the world of jazz.

He fronted his own combo – appearing often in Denver – which included Count Basie on piano, Gus Johnson on drums, Freddie Green on guitar and Joe Neuman on trumpet.  Quinichette would record primarily on Mercury’s jazz subsidiary label EmArcy and also appeared on Decca, Bethlehem, Brunswick and more.

He played with several jazz combos of note before being signed on with Count Basie replacing the famed Lester Young.

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The “Vice Prez”

It was Paul Quinichette who reportedly fondly christened Billie Holiday “Lady Day”.  It was his custom to address female acquaintances with the prefix “Lady”.

It is difficult to locate information relating to Paul’s time in Denver – and most likely he departed soon after his high school years to embark on his career.  He was a member of so many groupings and bands including Nat Towles out of Chicago, trumpet player Shorty Sherock, piano player Ernie Fields and even a stint with Johnny Otis,

Then moving more into mainstream jazz he was with Louis Jordan, Henry Allen, Lucky Millinder and “Hot Lips” Page before moving onto Count Basie’s band.

Below, Quinichette is shown with a local Denver group called “The Swingin’ Swankies” (he sits in front row – second in from right – from Paul W. Stewart Collection).

Probably financially driven, Quinichette retired prematurely from music becoming an electrical engineer – coming back for a short time in the early 1970’s before hanging up his trumpet permanently due to health problems.

There is a book out there titled “Jazz Anecdotes Second Time Around” by Bill Crow which apparently documents parts of Paul’s intriguing journey.  Have to get a copy.

Paul Quinichette passed away on May 25th, 1983 at the age of 67 in New York City.

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Quinichette Played Often with Fellow Coloradoan – Johnny Smith

Paul Quinichette Discography

78 – Decca 28921 – Mine b/w The Heat’s Off – 1950

 

78 – Mercury 8287 (Japan) – Shad Roe b/w The Hook – 1952

45 – Bethlehem 11046 – When the Bllues Come On Parts 1 and 2 – 1950

45 – Decca 29197 – Humpty Dumpty b/w I Can’t Give You Anything But Love – 1954

45 – Mercury 70020 – Paul’s Bunion b/w Samie – 1958

45 – Prestige 122 – Things Ain’t What They Used to Be Parts One and Two – 1958

45 – Prestige 106 – Blue Dots Part One and Two – 1957

45 EP – EmArcy – 26022 – The Vice-Pres – 1954

45 EP – Decca 2291 – Blow Your Horn – 1954

45 EP – EmArcy 6002 – Pres Meets Vice Pres – 1954

45 EP – EmArcy 6006 – Who’s Cooler? – 1954

45 EP – EmArcy 6094 – Afro to Afro Cool – 1954

45 EP 6095 – Accent on Mambo – 1954

45 EP – EmArcy 1502 (UK) – Basie-Ite – 1956

45 EP – Prestige 429 (Sweden) – For Basie – 1958

45 EP – Vogue 8204 (France) – Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Paul Quinichette – 1964

LP – Mercury 25140 (10-Inch) – Dinah Washington – 1952

LP – EmArcy 36003 – Moods Featuring Paul Quinichette – 1954

LP – EmArcy 26035 – Sequel – 1954

LP – Decca 8058 – Tenderly – 1954

LP – Decca 8099 – Blow Your Horn – 1954

LP – Trip 5579 – Moods Featuring Paul Quinichette – 1955

LP – EmArcy 36004 – Sarah Vaughan (backing one of her first releases) – 1954

LP – Prestige 7103 – On the Sunny Side – 1957

LP – Clef 721 – Lady Sings the Blues (backing Billie Holiday) – 1956

LP – Prestige 7127 – For Basie – 1957

LP – Prestige 7131 – Wheelin’ and Dealin’ – 1957

LP – Verve Clef 685 – The Count! (with Count Basie) – 1957

LP – Prestige 7132 – The Big Sound (with Gene Ammons’ All Stars” – 1958

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LP – Prestige 7201 – Groove Blues (with Gene Ammons’ All Stars) – 1958

LP – Roost 2211 – Moonlight in Vermont (playing with Johnny Smith Quintet) – 1958

LP – Swingville 2037 – Basie Reunion – 1958

LP – Seeco 1126 – Tenors Anyone? – 1958

LP – Bethlehem 6021 – The Chase Is On – 1958

LP – Prestige 7158 – Cattin’ with Coltrane and Quinichette – 1959

LP – United Artists 4077 – Paul Qunichette – 1960

LP – United Artists 4081 – Sax Giants – 1960

LP – Euphoria 199 – Jazz for Hi-Fi Lovers – 1960 (Reissue shown on Sundazed)

LP – Status  8316 – The Dealers – 1965

LP – Status 8317 – Body & Soul – 1965

LP – Sonet 716 (UK) – Kansas City Joys – 1976

LP – Bethlehem 6038 – The Chase is On (with Charlie Rouse) – 1978

LP – Biograph 12066 – The Kid From Denver – 1980

LP – Biograph 12068 – Tenors Anyone? – 1980

LP – Prestige 24109 – Basie Reunions – 1982

LP – Roulette 59063 – Moonlight In Vermont (with Johnny Smith Quintet – 1988

 

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