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Freddie Slack

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Freddie Slack was a part of two hit records during the swing era, making his mark on jazz history. Originally a drummer, he switched to piano soon after moving to Chicago in 1927. Slack worked early on with Johnny Tobin. After moving to Los Angeles in 1931, he appeared with bands led by Henry Halstead, Earl Burtnett, Archie Rosate, and Lennie Hayton. Slack gained some recognition for his playing with Ben Pollack (1934-1936) and Jimmy Dorsey (1936-1939). As a key piano soloist with Will Bradley & His Orchestra during 1939-1941, Slack was well showcased on the famous recording of "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" that helped launch the boogie-woogie fad. Slack was a key voice on many other Bradley recordings in the same vein; he also played quite effectively on some Big Joe Turner records. In 1942 Slack formed his own orchestra, which soon scored with the very successful "Cow Cow Boogie" and "Strange Cargo." Initially featuring singer Ella Mae Morse, for a short time Freddie Slack & His Orchestra were one of the more popular swing big bands, appearing in several films and recording for Capitol during 1942-1947. Freddie Slack was based in California in the 1950s and '60s, but he faded from the spotlight at the end of the 1940s, recording a final small-group album for EmArcy in 1955. ~ Scott Yanow

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