|Birth name||Ernestine Carroll|
|Born||August 5, 1909|
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||January 30, 1994 (aged 83–84)|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Ernestine Carroll Davis, (born 1909 – January 30, 1994) better known as Tiny Davis, was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist.
Carroll was born in Memphis, Tennessee.Born to George and Leanna (née White) Carroll, she was the youngest of seven children: four sisters and two brothers.
She began playing trumpet at age thirteen while a student at Booker T. Washington High School.
She moved to Kansas City in the 1930s and joined the Harlem Play-Girls in 1935, playing with the group until late 1936, when she left the group to give birth.
In 1937, the Piney Woods Country Life School of Mississippi founded the 16-piece band known as The International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The purpose of the band was to financially support the school, which educated the poor and orphaned Black children in that state. But in 1941, the Sweethearts severed their ties with the Piney Woods Country Life School, moved to Virginia, and recruited seasoned professionals to join their band. This is when Ernestine "Tiny" Davis joined. The Sweethearts were unique for the time as all-female and racially integrated group, featuring Latina, Asian, Caucasian, Black, Native American and Puerto Rican players.
Tiny played and toured with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm until 1947, including on USO tours during World War II and in the film How About That Jive. The International Sweethearts of Rhythm also played the Apollo Theater in New York City, the Regal Theater in Chicago, and the Howard Theater in Washington, DC, where their debut set a box office record of 35,000 patrons in one week.In the 40s, Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway, among others, came and stood in the wings to listen to her. Later, her all-female band played opposite Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson and jammed with many jazz greats. "I could have played with Count Basie, Cab Calloway—the greatest," Tiny said. "But I loved them gals too much. They were some sweet gals."
After the Sweethearts disbanded in 1949, she formed her own all-female band from some erstwhile members of the Prairie View Co-eds, which she called the Hell Divers. On June 25, 1950, Tiny Davis and Her Hell Divers performed at the sixth famed Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr.Also featured on the same day were Lionel Hampton, PeeWee Crayton's Orchestra, Roy Milton and his Orchestra, Dinah Washington, and other artists. 16,000 were reported to be in attendance. Tiny Davis and her Hell Divers ensemble recorded for Decca Records and toured through 1952, including in the Caribbean and Central America.
Tiny Davis was active in performance into the 1980s.
Davis was featured in two independent short documentary films produced and directed by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss. International Sweethearts of Rhythm: America's Hottest All-Girl Band (1986) presented a history of the first racially integrated all-female jazz band in the United States.Davis was one of six surviving band members interviewed in the film.
In 1988, she was the co-featured artist in the documentary Tiny & Ruby: Hell Divin' Women that focused primarily on Davis' career after leaving the Sweethearts, as well as her 40+-year relationship with Ruby Lucas. Tiny & Ruby had its premiere at the 1988 Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, with Chicago residents Davis and Lucas in attendance.
As a young woman, she married Clarence Davis, and they had a son and two daughters.
Several decades later, bassist Ruby Lucas became Davis's life partner. Lucas was among the musicians in Davis' Hell Divers group. Davis and Lucas opened a club in Chicago, Tiny and Ruby's Gay Spot, in the late 1940s, which they ran through the 1950s. The couple were together over 40 years, until Tiny's death in Chicago on January 30, 1994.
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich, to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996.
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The International Sweethearts of Rhythm was the first integrated all-women's band in the United States. During the 1940s the band featured some of the best female musicians of the day. They played swing and jazz on a national circuit that included the Apollo Theater in New York City, the Regal Theater in Chicago, and the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. After a performance in Chicago in 1943, the Chicago Defender announced the band was "one of the hottest stage shows that ever raised the roof of the theater!" They have been labeled "the most prominent and probably best female aggregation of the Big Band era". During feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s in America, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm became popular with feminist writers and musicologists who made it their goal to change the discourse on the history of jazz to include both men and women musicians. Flutist Antoinette Handy was one scholar who documented the story of these female musicians of color.
Anna Mae Winburn(néeDarden; August 13, 1913 – September 30, 1999) was an American vocalist and jazz bandleader who flourished beginning in the mid-1930s. An African-American, she is best known for having directed the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female big band that was perhaps one of the few – and one of the most – racially integrated dance-bands of the swing era. In 1944, the band was named as the country's favorite all-female orchestra in a DownBeat magazine poll.
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Harriet "Quicksand" Browne was an American tap dancer, educator and choreographer who was best known for her innovation in sanding. Browne got a job dancing in the chorus but shortly afterwards got pregnant and had a son, which put a temporary stop to her dancing career. After the birth of her son, she resumed dancing as a soloist and as a member of the chorus in clubs around Chicago. During the 1950s, she toured with Cab Calloway's band. After she got a job in the chorus at a club in Greenwich Village, although she continued to tour, she settled in New York City.
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International Sweethearts of Rhythm: America's Hottest All-Girl Band is a 1986 American independent short documentary film directed and produced by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss that presents a history of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the first racially integrated all-female jazz band in the United States.
Rosalind Cron was an American alto-saxophonist. During the 1940s she played with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female jazz big band. She toured and performed for American soldiers in post-war Europe and was broadcast on national and international radio.
That Man of Mine is an American film released in 1946. Directed by Leonard Anderson, it features an African-American cast.
Her application for social security (filed in 1941) gives a birth year of 1910, but other sources, including a film interview, give 1909.