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    Mendello & His Five Gee Gees - Dixie Drag

    kspm0220s

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    Cornetist James "Toots" Mendello recorded several sides from July to October 1928. Six of the sides were issued on dime-store labels. These are his only known recordings. Although he was an outstanding jazz musician, it is no surprise he is poorly known today. All the musicians except Mendello were members of the Five Pennies at one time or another, two of them Schutt and Berton were with the Five Pennies through most of the 1920s. Hardly any biographical information about "Toots" Mendello is available in the jazz literature (printed or internet). However, thanks to data found on the great page about him on network54.com, some information and a lovely portrait could be retrieved. James Mendello was born in Patterson, NJ in 1904. He is listed in the 1930 US Census with his name spelled Mandello, living at 1770 West Sixth Street, Brooklyn New York, age 26, born in New Jersey of Italian parents, with his wife Mildred, age 25, born in New York of Italian parents, and son Vincent (Ginas father), age 2, born in New York. James Mendello's occupation is described as musician in a theater. Early in his career, Mendello played with the bands of Frankie Pope, Al Barone and Jimmy Love. He was a member of the band that accompanied comedienne Eva Shirley. Later, he played with the bands of Ben Bernie, Ross Gorman and Vincent Lopez. At the end of his career, Toots used the name G. G. Mendello and played with Grossinger's Orchestra. James "Toots" Mendello composed three songs, "Heartbeats", "Always On My Mind" and "I've No Right". He was musical director for two Broadway musicals, Three's A Crowd and Heads Up. Mendello was featured in Ben Bernie's sound films. He died in Brooklyn, NY of viral meningitis, at the age of only 27. This brilliant recording was made in 1928. Personnel included: Toots Mendello (cnt) Glenn Miller (tb) Fud Livingston (cl) Arthur Schutt (p) Carl Kress (g) Vic Berton (d) Dick Holmes (vcl).