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Jazz Musician Pseudonyms


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Compiled by Jack Woker

Although it receives little support by the record industry, the media, and society at large, jazz-though not thriving-is still managing to survive. There is no shortage of young musicians flocking towards the music, and new CD releases are certainly not in short supply. And though jazz represents a relatively small market, there is still a listener base, and jazz discs are (contrary to what record executives tell their artists)still being sold. The reason for this is not hard to understand. Aside from the obvious high level of art found within the music itself, one finds every cog in the jazz wheel; it's history, it's linage, the colorful personalities, the tragic heroes, the unsung geniuses, the fables, legends, and war stories; the totality which makes up the art form, to be utterly fascinating. One of the many honors and pleasures a jazz musician receives is the occasion to hear first-hand stories about the jazz musicians he or she admires the most. Many stories are long held secrets only spoken by people deep inside of the jazz community: stories of racism, battles with drug addiction, individual quests for musical expression, the problems of creating in the face of adversity. And while some stories are sad, others are uplifting, and very inspiring to many, many a jazz musician. Stories of the obstacles and challenges that the masters of this music so bravely faced, can be extremely motivational to a young artist wishing to pursue a career playing jazz. It is a reason to continue the struggle to make this music, when it seems nobody else gives a damn.

Of course, not all of the stories are so dark. There is a lot of comedy in jazz as well. Some of it is intentional; most of it-like the music, is improvised. Of great interest to many a jazz fan-player and listener alike-has been the usage of pseudonyms by many prominent jazz artists. The reason behind the deception appears to be relatively simple: When an artist is under exclusive contract with a particular label, but wishes to record a session for another label either as a leader or as a sideman, he must first be granted a release from the label for which he is under contract. There may be other reasons as well, such as an artist may simply wish to remain anonymous for personal reasons, but the former explanation is a more common scenario. Just contemplating the notion that these players would think that by using an alias they would fool anyone is hilarious in itself. Most prominent jazz musicians get to a point where their playing style becomes like their DNA ; a musical fingerprint that unmistakably identifies who they are.

Did Cannonball Adderley, a player with a highly discernable sound think that he would fool anyone with the name Buckshot La Funke ? What about Stan Getz? Everybody knows his sound! Did he think he could get away with the name Dju Berry ? And if that weren't silly enough, what about the pseudonyms Ken Stanton, Manny Shell , and Phil Forest ? Are these identities so hard to figure out? The long list of jazz pseudonyms below is bound to turn heads and elicit chuckles. Exactly why Mel Powell came up with Shoeless Joe Jackson is beyond me. Did Shoeless Joe play a mean horn, or did Mel at one time consider a career in baseball? The answer to this, and other puzzling questions regarding the secret identities of our jazz super heroes may forever elude us.

PseudonymReal Name Album
Shoeless Henry AaronHarry AllenBob Wilber "Budafora Blowup," Arbors 1996
Gabriel ArmstrongJon FaddisAl Grey "Live At The Floating Jazz Festival," Chiaroscuro, 1990
Barbecue JoeWingy ManoneChampion, 1930
Kunst BauerArt FarmerTeo Macero "What's New?," Columbia, 1955
Buzzy BavarianAl GafaKai Winding, "Dirty Dog," Verve, 1966
Johnny BeecherPlas Johnson"Sax Fifth Avenue," Charter, 1962
Sam BeethovenJimmy RaneyCohn-Perkins-Kamuca "The Brothers," RCA, 1955
Ferris BenderJackie McLeanArt Blakey "Night in Tunisia," Vik, 1957
Ralph & Bert BergReinhold Svensson & Charles NormanMetronome, 1950
Dju BerryStan GetzJimmy Gourley "No More," Musica, 1981
John BirksDizzy GillespieJazz At The Philharmonic, Disc, 1946
BlockbusterCannonball AdderleyJon Hendricks "A Good Git Together," Pacific Jazz, 1959
B. BopsteinDizzy GillespieTony Scott, Gotham, 1946
Jud BrotherlyCannonball Adderley"Ray Brown With The All-Star Big Band," Verve, 1962
Boots BrownShorty Rogers"Rock That Beat," Groove, 1952-53 RCA Victor singles, 1958
Tiger BrownMaynard Ferguson"Jazz Studio 4," Decca, 1955
John BurkDizzy GillespieWilbert Baranco, Black & White, 1946
Lord CalvertNat King ColeThe Keynoters, Keynote, 1946
Steve CanyonStan Kenton 
Billy CartonBenny CarterVarsity Seven, Varsity, 1939
Unidentified CatGato BarbieriCarla Bley, Watt
Pete CeraPete JollyJon Eardley "Quartet," Prestige, 1955 Shorty Rogers "The Swinging Mr. Rogers," Atlantic, 1955
Charlie ChanCharlie Parker"Jazz At Massey Hall," Debut, 1953; Miles Davis "Collector's Items," Prestige, 1953
Friendly ChapBuddy GuyJunior Wells "Hoodoo Man Blues, Delmark
Prince CharmingCount BasieKansas City Seven, Keynote, 1944
Cootie ChesterfieldPete CandoliPeggy Lee "Black Coffee," Decca, 1953
Joe ChevroletJoe DodgePaul Desmond "Quartet Featuring Don Elliott," Fantasy, 1956
Chicago FlashGene KrupaJATP, Asch, 1944
I ChingFreddie ReddHoward McGhee "The Connection," Felsted, 1960
Clarence ClumpBenny CarterCapitol, 1948
Sven CoolsonStan GetzJimmy Raney "Plays," Prestige, 1953
Little Miss CottShirley ScottStanley Turrentine "Dearly Beloved," Blue Note, 1961
E. DankworthWynton MarsalisMarcus Roberts "Deep In The Shed," RCA Eric Reed "It's Alright To Swing"
John DoeHoward LucraftHoward Lucraft "Showcase For Modern Jazz," Decca, 1957
Lonesome DragonBob MosesGary Burton "A Genuine Tong Funeral," RCA, 1967
Dan DrewElliot Lawrence"Rock That Beat," Groove, 1952-53
Blind Willie DunnEddie Langw/ Lonnie Johnson, 1928-29
Sir EdwardHarold Vick"The Power of Feeling," Encounter
Darlene EdwardsJo Stafford"The Piano Artistry Of Jonathan Edwards," Columbia
Jonathan EdwardsPaul Weston 
Ly N. EllLionel HamptonEddie Condon, Commodore, 1938
Swede EnlovelyCharlie ShaversGeorge Williams "Rhythm Was His Business," RCA
Keats EnnamShelly Manne 
Maggsi EvonceHoward McGheeLeo Parker, Savoy, 1947
Gib FenderHoward RobertsJune Christy "The Cool School," Capitol, 1959
"Baron" FingusCharles MingusGeorge Wallington Trio, Prestige, 1952
Chicago FlashGene Krupa 
Art FlickreiterAndre PrevinDave Pell "The Big Small Bands," Capitol, 1959
Phil ForestPhil WoodsNat Pierce "Jazz Romp," Keynote, 1955
Billy FranklinDon Goldie"Golden Horn," Design
Phil FunkPhil Woods 
Ernst Von FunkensteinErnie FreemanJimmy Witherspoon "Baby Baby Baby," Prestige, 1963
GabrielDizzy GillespieTempo Jazz Men, Dial, 1946
Irving GarnerPaul Smith"The Best Of Irving Garner," Verve, 1956 Buddy DeFranco "Plays Artie Shaw," Verve, 1957
Sir Jonathan GasserJohnny Smith"Jazz Studio 1," Decca, 1953
Hen GatesJimmy Forman 
Hen GatesDizzy GillespieCharlie Parker, Savoy, 1945
Jimmy GloomyJames MoodyTubby Hayes "Tubby's Back In Town," Smash, 1962
Doc GoldbergMilt HintonGeorge Williams "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music," RCA
Izzy GoldbergDizzy Gillespie 
GoliathLou BennettJack Sels, Delahay, 1961
DaWilli GongaGeorge DukeCal Tjader "Amazonas," Fantasy; Joe Henderson "Black Miracle," Milestone, 1975; Tom Waits "Blue Valentine," 1978; others.
Blue GrantGrant GreenDon Patterson "Tune Up," Prestige, 1971
Roy GreenRay BrownJoyce Collins "Girl Here Plays Mean Piano," Jazzland, 1960
Rod GregoryDick Hyman"Holiday For Lovers," Waldorf, c. 1955
Earl GreyLou LevyShorty Rogers "Martians Come Back," Atlantic, 1955
Zane GrudgeDon LamondGuss Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA, 1956
Aye GuyNat King ColeLester Young "Trio," Clef, 1946
Ruth HaagBetty GrableHarry James, Columbia, 1945
Sir Osbert HaberdasherJimmy RaneyAl Cohn, "Mr. Music," RCA, 1954
Carleton HarkinsColeman HawkinsVarsity Seven, Varsity, 1939
Bunny HarrisJimmy RaneyDick Collins "King Richard...," RCA, 1954
Bernie HartMilt BernhartJerry Fielding "Swingin' In Hi Fi," Decca, 1956
HarveyJohnny HodgesBilly Taylor, Keynote, 1944
Bert HerbertHerb Geller"Jazz Studio 4," Decca, 1955
Junior HifitzMilt HintonGus Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA 1956
Gus HooBilly Butterfield"New York Land Dixie," RCA, 1956
Ike HorowitzAl CohnUrbie Green "East Coast Jazz," Bethlehem, 1955
Shoeless Joe JacksonMel PowellJATP, Disc, 1946
Shoeless John JacksonBenny GoodmanMel Powell, Commodore, 1942
John JacksonBenny GoodmanTeddy Wilson, Brunswick, 1936
Sonny JacksonKing CurtisSue, 1961
Jo JaguarMartial SolalVogue EPs, 1956
Jinx JinglesTeddy CharlesDonald Byrd & Pepper Adams, Warwick, 1961
Phil JohnsonGeorge ShearingNight Blooming Jazzmen, Mainstream, 1973
Spider JohnsonCannonball AdderleyRiverside single, 1962
Little JazzRoy EldridgeLittle Jazz Ensemble, Keynote
JugGene AmmonsBennie Green "Soul Stirrin,'" Blue Note, 1958
Stix KahnTeddy Charles"Mundell Lowe Quintet," RCA Victor, 1954
Ken KenneyRed Norvo"Jazz Studio 4," Decca, 1955
Chuck KiddeCharlie ShaversColeman Hawkins "Hawk in Hi Fi, RCA Victor, 1956
John KildareDizzy GillespieAlbinia Jones, National, 1945
Oliver KingThad JonesCharles Mingus/John LaPorta "Jazzical Moods," Period, 1954
Willie "The Rock" KnoxDick Hyman"Ragtime Piano," Waldorf, c. 1955
KokomoJimmy Wisner"Asia Minor," Felsted
Felix KrullHorace ParlanBooker Ervin "That's It," Candid, 1961
Buckshot La FunkeCannonball Adderley" Here Comes Louis Smith ," Blue Note, 1958
Bob LandyBob Dylan"The Blues Project," Elektra
George LaneEric DolphyJohn Coltrane "Ole," Atlantic, 1961
Vera LaneHelen WardTeddy Wilson, Brunswick, 1936
Kansas LawrenceCarmell JonesVi Redd "Bird Call," United Artists, 1962
Bengt LaxeauBengt HallbergMonica Zetterlund "Swedish Sensation," Columbia, 1958
L. LeeBenny CarterLionel Hampton, Victor, 1939
Bud LeggeBud ShankJune Christy "The Intimate June Christy," Capitol, 1963
Often LePowSeldon PowellGeorge Williams "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music," RCA
Jelly Roll LipschitzLeonard FeatherLeo Watson, Signature, 1946
Little BrotherNat AdderleyKing Curtis "The New Scene Of King Curtis," New Jazz, 1960
Red LoringRed NicholsJulia Lee, Capitol, 1947
Hey LouisLouis HayesPepper Adams & Donald Byrd "Motor City Scene," Bethlehem
Manhattan RedUrbie GreenJimmy McPartland, Design, 1960
MauriceFats WallerEddie Condon, Commodore, 1940
Buddy MaynardMaynard FergusonJerry Fielding "Swingin' In Hi Fi," Decca, 1956
Henry McDodeHampton HawesJimmy Witherspoon "Singin' The Blues," World Pacific, 1958
Moe and JoeJ.J. Johnson & Kai WindingTony Aless "Long Island Suite," Roost, 1956
Wilbur MosbyDon Patterson 
Rock MurphyBarney KesselVerve 45's
Shorty NadineNat King ColeJazz At The Philharmonic, Disc, 1944
Virgil NamelessJohnny Dankworth 
Nature BoyNat "King" ColeStan Getz "Groovin' High," Crown, 1947
Lord NelsonSonny StittSensation, 1948
Jimmy O'HeighoJimmy ClevelandGeorge Williams "Rhythm Was His Business," RCA, 1956
Hammond OlsonReinhold SvenssonMetronome, 1952
Olson BrothersReinhold Svensson & Charles NormanEsquire?, 1950
A. N. OtherAllen Eager 
Knuckles O'TooleDick HymanWaldorf and other labels, 1950s
Pete PesciBobby HackettEddie Condon, "Bixieland," Columbia, 1955
Hunt PetersJ.J. JohnsonElvin Jones "And Then Again," Atlantic, 1965
Ronnie PetersCannonball AdderleyMilt Jackson "Plenty Plenty Soul," Atlantic, 1957
Fefe PhophumHal McKusickGus Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA 1956
Mac PierceHugh McCrackenKing Curtis "Trouble In Mind," Tru-Sound, 1961
Buddy PoorBuddy RichHarry James "Wild About Harry," Capitol, 1957
Al PortchLaurindo AlmeidaPete Rugolo "Percussion At Work," Mercury, 1957
Cue PorterJohnny HodgesBilly Strayhorn "Cue For Saxophone," Felsted, 1958
Al PriceBill Berry 
Bubber PrinceSammy PriceAlbinia Jones, National, 1945
The PrinceShorty Rogers"Jazz Studio 4," Decca, 1955
Amanda B. ReckondwithRuth UnderwoodGeorge Duke
Ragtime ReinholdReinhold SvenssonMetronome, 1953 & 1955
Dirty RiversMuddy WatersOtis Spann "The Blues Never Die," Prestige, 1964
Little RockPharoah SandersLeon Thomas "Spirits Known and Unknown," Flying Dutchman, 1969
Jolly RogerShorty RogersTeddy Charles "New Directions," Prestige, 1953
Slim RomeroFats NavarroIllinois Jacquet, Aladdin, 1947
Swing RooCozy ColeTeddy Wilson, Brunswick, 1937
Art SaltArt PepperShorty Rogers "Cool & Crazy," RCA Victor, 1954
Steve SaxSteve LacyJoe Lee Wilson "Secrets From the Sun," Sun, c. 1976
Joe ScottWynton KellySonny Criss "At The Crossroads," Peacock, 1959
Manny ShellShelly Manne"Wild One" soundtrack, Decca, 1954
Roger ShortShorty Rogers"Wild One" soundtrack, Decca, 1954
C.C. SiegelJ.J. JohnsonCharlie Parker 10th Memorial Concert," Limelight, 1965
Big SkolSonny Boy WilliamsonRoland Kirk "Kirk in Copenhagen," Mercury, 1963
Brother SoulMilt JacksonQuincy Jones "This Is How I Feel About Jazz," ABC, 1956
George SpelvinBud Shank 
Joe SplinkClifford ScottRichard Groove Holmes "Somethin' Special," Pacific Jazz; Carmell Jones "Business Meeting" Pacific Jazz
Kant StandhimStan Kenton 
Ken StantonStan Kenton 
Cinderella G. StumpJo StaffordRed Ingle, Capitol, 1947
Mad Milt SummerblouseBoomie RichmanGus Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA 1956
Theoshis TannisRoland KirkEddie Baccus "Feel Real," Smash, 1962
Erskine TearblotterLou McGarityGus Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA 1956
A Tenor manBen WebsterCarmen McRae "Birds Of A Feather," Decca, 1958
Ed TheodoreProb. Teddy EdwardsMel Tormé "I Dig The Duke, I Dig The Count," Verve, 1960-61
Zeke Tolin (anagram of Lee Konitz)Lee Konitz"Gil Evans +10," Prestige, 1957
Blue TrainJohn ColtraneCecil Taylor "Stereo Drive," United Artists, 1958
Bernard TrappsBuddy RichGeorge Freeman "Man & Woman ," Groove Merchant, 1974
Flip TurnerFlip PhillipsJazz At The Philharmonic, Mercury, 1947
Shad TurnerJay Johnson 
Peter UrbanArt FarmerTeddy Charles "Tentet," Atlantic, 1956
James Van DykeJimmy ClevelandGigi Gryce, "Orchestra/Quartet," Signal, 1955
Luke "The Wailer"Danny BankGeorge Handy "Handyland, U.S.A.," 1954
Wally WalesBobby HackettGeorge Wein, "George Wein Sings," Atlantic, 1955
Herb WalshHerb Geller"Best From The West," Blue Note, 1954-55
Billy WardBuster BaileyOriole, 1925
Jim WhatsmynameJimmy ClevelandLucky Thompson's ABC Paramount Lps, 1956
The WizzardRaymond ChengFrank Lowe, "Black Beings," ESP
Eddie WoodEddie HeywoodRex Stewart, Capitol, 1945
Baldy WynnMoe WechslerGus Hoo "New York Land Dixie," RCA 1956
Drummer XChico HamiltonJohn Pisano/Billy Bean "Makin' It, Decca, 1958
Trumpeter XHarry EdisonManny Albam "Jazz Greats...," Coral, 1957
Ennam YllehsShelly ManneDave Pell, "The Big Small Bands" Capitol, 1959
Ashby de la ZoochIrving AshbyCharles Mingus, Four Star, 1946
Jack ZootZoot SimsErnie Wilkins, RCA, 1955
Contributors: Chuck Nessa, Dave Royko, Francois Ziegler, Martin Milgrim, John Hood, Tim Brockett, Anthony Agostinelli, Linda Shank, Ed Barr, John Pickworth, Peter Friedman, Doug Norwood, Luca Conti, David Toman, Henry Schmidt, Dennis Whitling, Ed Berger, M. Heckman, Steve Schwartz, Jonathan Kutler, Danny D'Imperio, Tim Hume, Phil Stein, Lenny Mazel, Bob Roberts, Paul Costuros, Larry Israel and Bill Gallagher.

Special thanks to Michael Fitzgerald and his Jazz Research page.

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