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Blanche Calloway (Baltimore (Maryland)9 February 1904 -d. Dresden, 16 december 1978) was an American jazzsinger,bandleader and composer-from the swingera.She's probably the first woman who led a male band. She was a sister of Cab Calloway.

Calloway studied music at the Morgan State College, but dropped out with it in 1923 to join a group. They toured with several revues and territorybands. She with different bands played on her first session on plates. Louis Armstrong as a sideman with it. In 1929 she took on with Ruben Reeves and His River Boys. In 1931 she sangAndy Kirk's band, with which she acted in Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia. After this, she formed her own group Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys with some members of Kirks band. In this orchestra played over the years, including Ben WebsterClarence SmithClyde HartCozy Cole, as well as Mary Lou Williams.

With the orchestras of Kirk and Bennie Slices in 1931 she went on tour on the East Coast. Her band, who recorded under the name Fred Armstrong and His pianist James P. Johnson, was a while pretty popular.She lost, however, musicians to the band of Slices and in 1938 she went bankrupt and they had to close down the whole orchestra. She went further and later had a solo band, with which she acted in Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.. From the 1950s until the 1970s, she was manager of Ruth Brown, she worked as a disk jockey and, later, as program director of the station WMBM in Florida. Her younger brother named Blanche as a reason why he went into show business.


  • Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys 1925-1935, Classics

with Andy Kirk Orchestra:

  • Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy 1929-1931, Classics

with Ruben Reeves

  • Ruben Reeves: The Complete Vocalions 1928-1933, Timeless