Francis Bill Lagman

Born: 5/4/1907  Mobile, AL

Died: 1/10/1976

Wrote the song "Mobile Azalea Trail". His trumpet given to him from Doc Severinsen of the "Tonight Show" is on permanent display at the Museum of Mobile, Mardi Gras Room. He received the "Mr. Mobile Music Award" in 1968 by Mobile Jazz Festival. He received the M.O. Beale award in 1968 from the Mobile Press Register.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Bill Lagman's Orchestra

Big Band, Swing, Jazz, Dixieland Jazz



Johnny Riddick, Roy Choice, Felix Guarino, Avery Loposa, Cliff Hollman, Tom Mooney, Jimmie Donoghue, Howard Mann, Marvin Winstead, Plez Finklea, Eddie Jones, Bud Kearns, Manny Andrews, Gabe Drey, Frankie Briston, Jimmy Fondrew, Joe Keezel, Sam Douglas, Hugh Coleman, Walker Taylor, Ira Swingle, Lillian Kyser, Eddie Powers, Bobbie Franks, Soc Hahn, Walter Holmes, Larry Keating, Trisha Mott

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Record Label: Lagmanor Productions

About: "Music with the happy beat"


Bill Lagman was born in Mobile on May 4, 1907 and baptized Francis Edward, but his nickname “Bill” was given him by his brothers. According to a booklet compiled by Bill Lagman's widow, Claire, he received his musical training from Professor Angelo Suffich of Spring Hill College but developed his personal style in Dixieland and Jazz from listening to local musicians and records, especially Bix Biederbeck. A family legend recounts that Bill's parents bought him his first pair of long pants at age 12 to play for a Mardi Gras group.

By 1925, he was the leader of a band called Bill's Merrymakers which was followed by Crescent City Orchestra in 1929. The orchestra played afternoons at the Cawthon Hotel, offering live performances of popular dance music. His music was enjoyed at Monroe Park, on the Bay Queen and at ADDSCO during World War II. The October 18, 1929 edition of the Mobile Press reported “[The Crescent City Orchestra] has spread its fame all along the gulf coast, and has achieved popularity in both St. Louis and Chicago...”

Throughout his career, Lagman performed for hundreds of parties, schools, organizations and civic events including America's Junior Miss. He wrote special arrangements for many Carnival societies' tableau and his orchestra was always in demand during Mardi Gras for fifty years. He is an important part of Mobile's musical history playing Ragtime in the twenties and Big Band music from the thirties through the seventies. One of Bill's original trumpets is on display at the Mobile Carnival Museum and the trumpet given to him by The Tonight Show band leader Doc Severinsen, is on display at the Museum of Mobile.

He was awarded the M.O. Beale Scroll of Merit in 1968 for his “artistic contribution to [Mobile's] social and civic life.” Lagman was one of the founders of the Mobile Jazz Festival. He was named “Mr. Music” by the Mobile Jazz Festival in 1968 , and in 2002 the Tricentennial Jazz Festival was dedicated to his memory.

He wrote and arranged music for his bands to perform. Lagman wrote the words and music to “Alpha Delta Kappa Sweetheart” and dedicated it to his wife, Claire. The song entitled “Mobile's Azalea Trail” promoted the city and its beauty. It was performed by Rudy Vallee on his Standard Brands radio program. Lagman was the director of the choir at St. Mary's Church. He left the score of “Holy, Holy, Holy” which he was composing for the Easter liturgy on his piano when he died on January 10, 1976.

Source: Bill Lagman's Orchestra (8)

Listen: Rudy Vallee: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios



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