Bob Effros in 1929

Bob Effros in 1929
Bob Effros (left) with Vincent Lopez Orchestra

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Solving the Mystery: A Call to Action

My mother and I started this blog last February as a labor of love. When we began this project, we simply wanted to find out more about the man: my Great, Grandfather Bob Effros. This blog has become so much than we ever imagined.

We are inspired by other relatives and descendants of Jazz & Blues musicians from the 1920's and 1930's exploring their family history. Through these new friends and acquaintances, we have found out more about Bob and other talents from "Big Band and Swing" era. 

Relatives of famous artists such as Ben Selvin and The Boswell Sisters have reached out to us and shared knowledge and excitement about these acclaimed musicians. These discussions have lead us to more information about this era and the stars who made the amazing songs, captivating people around the world to this day! 
With this influx of findings, we are starting to solve the mystery of who Bob Effros really was and the exciting life he experienced. This post is a big thank you to the many people who have connected with us, and are helping us along our journey. We still would love to know who made up Bob's entourage and we can use your help. If you have any information about Bob Effros or the people he played music and travelled with in Europe and along the Mississippi River, please contact us.  Our emails are listed below or add to the comment section.

Thanks once again,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life! Happy Birthday Grandpa Bob Effros!

Robert "Bob" Effros was born December 6th, 1900 in London, England. At the age of three, his Russian Jewish immigrant family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
Raised in the South strongly influenced the foundations of Jazz trumpet Bob played throughout his illustrious musical career. Bob ran away from home at age eleven and had a job as a “purser” on a Mississippi river boat.  Along the “Great Delta” he learned to play the coronet leading him to his true love; the trumpet. His course of trumpet playing began by following the leads of "King Oliver". 

Between 1917 and 1919, Bob served as a bugler in the United States Army. After the war ended, Bob settled down in Baltimore playing under big band leader, Bea Palmer. Throughout the 20's, Bob played the trumpet as a member of the Vincent Lopez Orchestra. The trumpeter flourished in this environment leading him to compose over a dozen hit songs such as: "Why The Twenties Roared", "Tin Ear" "Cornfed" and "Why Don't You Get Lost?"  Much of Bob's success can be attributed to his trumpet performances with great band leaders such as: Vincent Lopez,  Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Sam Lanin, Red Nichols, Harry Reser & Ben Selvin.

Bob Effros’ sizzling, trumpet can be heard on over 125 recordings along with the hottest “jazz sideman”. A partial list include: Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat, Al Jolson, Joe Venuti, Joe Tarto, Jimmy Durante, Wash Board Sam, W.C. Handy, Scrappy Lambert, Red Nichols & Fats Waller.   He is also known for being chosen by Paul Whiteman to fill in for the legendary trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke.

Jazz  women singers such as Annette Hanshaw, Bessie Smith, The Boswell Sisters, Mae Questal, Fanny Brice and Ethel Waters  are just a few of the  powerful, enchanting vocalists whom Bob Effros enjoyed performing trumpet.

The Vincent Lopez Orchestra toured Europe extensively. The most infamous trip was in 1925, on the Ship Leviathan.  Effros, Cugat, Tarto and others had to smuggle their instruments on board per Lopez instructions.  The Orchestra toured for two months at the Kit Kat Club, Piccadilly Palace and other hot British Clubs.

Bob performed and had great stories working with Max Fleischer Orchestra for countless zany cartoons like: “Betty Boop”, Pop-Eye, and "Felix the Cat" (Mel Blanc Cartoons).
                                ( Bob Effros Archives, Copyright Protected. Not for reproduction)

Vitaphone label hired Effros as a house musician where he joined a group of up-and-coming bandleaders including the sizzling banjo player, Harry Reser.  Bob performed and composed “Memr’y of This Dance” with the great bandleader/violinist, Ben Selvin.  Ben and Bob are known for their recorded humorous laughter and remained life, long friends.  
By 1929, Bob was leading his own orchestra and churning out hits such as "Sweet and Hot", an ode to Chinese soup. Bob was a staple in the radio studios through the 1930’s and 1940's with The Hit Parade, Camel Hour and Philco Radio Hours.

He settled in and made a home in Queens, NY.  It was here that he met his wife, our Grandma of blessed memory, Selma Sternick. They had two sons, George and Alan Effros.   Bob Effros enjoyed weekends with his six grandchildren.  He lived a healthy, happy life and died in his sleep at age 83.  Music, family and friends made him one of the happiest people one could ever meet.   

Happy Birthday Grandpa and Great Grandpa Bob!  We thought about time for a
an updated biography!
Written by:  Barbara Effros, 1st Granddaughter and
                  Jonathan Schwartz, 1st Great Grandson