Red McKenzie


Red McKenzie

Red McKenzie (Oct. 14, 1899, St. Louis, Missouri - Feb. 7, 1948, New York City) was an American jazz musician. He was the best-known, and one of the only, comb players in jazz history.

McKenzie played the comb by placing tissue paper over the tines and blowing on it, which produced a sound similar to a kazoo. McKenzie also played the kazoo proper, and occasionally sang. He was a co-founder, with Jack Bland, of the Mound City Blue Blowers, who released a number of titles between 1924 and 1925. At the same time, McKenzie also recorded solo as Red McKenzie & the Candy Kids. In 1928, he fronted a group called McKenzie and Condon's Chicagoans for a few sides on Okeh Records. He returned to the Mound City name again in 1929, 1931, and 1935-36. He recorded as a singer in 1931, and played with Paul Whiteman in 1932. He sang again with the Spirits of Rhythm in 1934 and the Farley-Riley group in 1935. Between 1939 and 1943 he went into retirement, moving back to his birthplace of St. Louis and working in a brewery, but appeared with Eddie Condon between 1944 to 1947 as a vocalist. He died of liver cirrhosis in 1948.

References

*Scott Yanow, [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3zfqxqt5ldfe~T1 Red McKenzie] at Allmusic
* [http://www.redhotjazz.com/mckenzie.html Red McKenzie] at Redhotjazz.com (includes discography)


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