Theodore Castor McCord

Born: May 17, 1907, Birmingham, AL

Died: Feb. 14, 1963

Tenor saxophone/clarinet From 1929/30 played with Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake Regularly with Mills Blue Rhythm Band until journeying to Europe in band playing with "Blackbirds of 1934"). Settled in Paris, played in band accompanying Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. Toured India, Amsterdam, and Paris before returning to the U.S. in 1938 Joined Benny Carter Big Band at Savoy early 1939, played with Eddie Mallory during following year. From 1941 until 1942 was a member of Claude Hopkins' Band. Left professional music in the 1940's.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


With a name that sounds like something shouted in brogue during a shipwreck, Castor McCord was a superb member of the reed sections in some of the classiest ensembles ever assembled in jazz, including a Parisian outfit that backed Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. Nonetheless there are other aspects of his life and career that merit interest outside the realm of jazz aesthetics. For one thing—or actually two things—McCord is one of very few sets of twins involved in performing swinging music. His brother was also a saxophonist, Theodore McCord, sometimes known by his antique middle-name of “Jobetus.”A superficial examination of the playing involvements of these brothers would lead to the mistaken conclusion that they were bluegrass pickers, or rather tooters, instead of jazzmen. After all, they both started out playing in Edgar Hayes’ Blue Grass Buddies in 1924. Hayes, however, was an early jazz bandleader, part of a rich scene of black music happening in the region of Ohio towns such as Springfield and Xenia. At this point, the McCord brothers were still in high school and the term “bluegrass” was years away from being used in the context of anything connected to country and western. During his ensuing years at the area’s important Wilberforce University, Castor McCord joined a student band under the direction of Horace Henderson, which as in the case of many of his fellow students led to a decision to play professionally.McCord headed to Atlantic City, then the Big Apple. Falling in with the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, he was by the end of the ’20s playing on dates behind Armstrong. He kept up his allegiance to this group while also working with leaders such as Eubie Blake and Charlie Matson. A period of living abroad was next on the agenda, although this decision puts McCord in a much larger group of American performers than his later decision to abandon music for hairdressing. He spent more than a year based in Paris and was also in on the traveling adventures of bandleader Leon Abbey, another expatriate who took jazz to lands it had never been before, including India in 1936. As a leader of his own group, McCord’s main ventures seem to have taken place during the European sojourn—he had his own trio in Amsterdam in 1937. He also gigged the following year in a Rotterdam outfit whose musical weather vane was Walter Rains. McCord came back to New York City soon thereafter, joining back up with Abbey who had made the same decision. In McCord’s final years as a musician he joined the reed section of Benny Carter’s band for some memorable stomping at the Savoy, also working with Eddie Mallory and a memorable ensemble organized by the great Kansas City jazz musicianClaude Hopkins. McCord opened his own Manhattan hairdressing salon in 1940, remaining committed to the comb and brush up until his death in the early ’60s.

Source: Castor McCord Biography, Photos, Pictures

Video: YouTube - Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra - Indian Cradle Song - OKeh 41423

Indian Cradle Song info: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong: Indian Cradle Song

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra - Selected Favorites, Volume 4, Louis Armstrong and His OrchestraRoaring 20s Revue, Vol. 3, Frank CrumitLouis Armstrong & His Orchestra, Vol. 2 (1936-1938): Heart Full of Rhythm, Louis Armstrong and His OrchestraVol. 3 - Pocketfull of Dreams, Louis Armstrong and His OrchestraMills Blue Rhythm Band: 1933-1936, Mills Blue Rhythm BandBody and Soul, Coleman Hawkins

Listen: Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra - Selected Favorites, Volume 4 by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra - Download Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra - Selected Favorites, Volume 4 on iTunes

Listen: Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra - Download Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra Music on iTunes

Listen: Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra: Music

Listen: Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra: MP3 Downloads

Listen: Eubie Blake

Listen: Mills Blue Rhythm Band - Download Mills Blue Rhythm Band Music on iTunes

Listen: Mills Blue Rhythm Band: Songs, Albums, Pictures, Bios

Listen: Coleman Hawkins - Download Coleman Hawkins Music on iTunes

Listen: Coleman Hawkins: MP3 Downloads








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