Means Mezzrow


August 15, 2022

Milton Mesirow (November 9, 1899 – August 5, 1972), better known as Mezz Mezzrow, was an American jazz clarinetist and saxophonist.[1]


Born in Chicago in 1899, into a Jewish family of Russian immigrants, he had a difficult adolescence and was imprisoned for robbery in the Pontiac penitentiary, where he became interested in music, joining the prison orchestra. After regaining his freedom, he continued to study until he became a virtuoso clarinetist. His first recordings date from 1927-28, accompanying the guitarist Eddie Condon or the trumpeter Red Nichols.[1] In 1929 he married an African-American woman and established his residence in the New York neighborhood of Harlem.[2] During the decade In the 1930s, he founded several mixed groups, made up of black and white musicians. At the end of the decade, Mezzrow organized and participated in several recording sessions with African-American musicians such as Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Frankie Newton, Tommy Ladnier and Sidney Bechet. In the mid-1940s, he founded his own record company, King Jazz Records, [1] where he produced, in addition to his own recordings, releases by Sammy Price and Sidney Bechet. In 1948 he took part in the first edition of the Nice Jazz Festival and established his residence in France,[1] where he founded several bands with French musicians, such as Claude Luter and Americans, such as Buck Clayton, Peanuts Holland, Jimmy Archey, Kansas Fields. and Lionel Hampton. He made good friends with the French musicologist Hugues Panassié. Mezzrow, in addition to being a musician, was known in the jazz world for his role as a marijuana dealer.[3] In 1946 he published his autobiography, entitled Really the Blues (La Rabia de Vivir), in which the musician gives his vision on the panorama of the world of jazz in the 30s and 40s, his admiration for the black musicians of New Orleans and his facet as a drug dealer in New York jazz clubs as well as many anecdotes.[4] Mezz Mezzrow died in Paris in 1972 and was buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.[5]


1947: Really the Blues, Jazz Archives (France) 1951: Mezz Mezzrow & His Band Featuring Collins & Singleton, Blue Note 1954: Mezz Mezzrow 1954: Mezz Mezzrow with Frankie Newton, Victor Records 1954: Mezz Mezzrow's Swing Session, X Records 1954: Mezzin' Around, RCA 1955: Mezz Mezzrow, Dials Swing 1955: Paris 1955, Vol. 1, Records Swing 1955: Mezz Mezzrow in Paris, 1955, Jazz Time Records 1956: Mezz Mezzrow to La Schola Cantorum, Ducretet-Thomson Records 1995: Makin' Friends, EPM 2007: Tells the King Jazz Story, Crisler 2012: Mezzrow and Bechet Remastered, Gralin Music