Blue Devil Blues

Walter Page’s Blue Devils

February 9, 1900 – December 20, 1957

Multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Walter Sylvester Page was born February 9, 1900 in Gallatin, Missouri.

Walter Page was the tuba and double bassist with both the Bennie Moten and Count Basie Orchestras.

Long before that he was the leader of his own group, the Blue Devils, one of the early Kansas City bands.

He formed the group in 1925 and by 1928 members included Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing.

This record was made in Kansas City, Missouri on November 10th 1929 with Jimmy Rushing vocals, Hot Lips Page and James Simpson trumpet, Dan Minor trombone, Buster Smith clarinet & alto sax, Ted Manning alto saxophone, Reuben Roddy tenor sax, Charlie Washington piano, Reuben Lynch guitar, Walter Page tuba & leader, and Alvin Borroughs drums.

After graduating from high school he went on to pursue a career as a music teacher enrolling at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. When he was eighteen Walter began playing nights over the course of the next five years as a bass instrumentalist with the critically acclaimed Bennie Moten Orchestra.

In 1925 Walter Page’s “Blues Devils” were assembled in Kansas City and proceeded to tour the Southwestern United States extensively. Between 1925 and 1933 when they included in their ranks prominent jazz figures Count Basie, Hot Lips Page, Jimmy Rushing, Eddie Durham, Jo Jones, and Lester Young. Most of the members were eventually absorbed by Bennie Moten’s band starting with Count Basie in 1929.

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