Charlie LaVere

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A journeyman player with a likable style, Charlie LaVere appeared in many jazz settings throughout the decades. Early on he played trumpet, trombone, and alto before settling on the piano. Early experiences…
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A journeyman player with a likable style, Charlie LaVere appeared in many jazz settings throughout the decades. Early on he played trumpet, trombone, and alto before settling on the piano. Early experiences included working with cousin Stan Weiss as Dan & Stan, playing alto with Herb Cook's Oklahoma Joy Boys, touring with Frank Williams' Oklahomans (with whom he was stranded in New York), accompanying Bert Forman, working in Pittsburgh with Etzi Covato, playing in Bermuda with Sam Robbins' Orchestra, and gigging with Marshall Van Pool, Tracy Brown, Boyd Schreffler, and Johnny Dorchester (playing trombone with the latter). In 1933 LaVere recorded with Jack Teagarden and gigged with Wingy Manone. After touring with Eddie Neibauer and Dell Coon, LaVere led a recording date in 1935 that included Jabbo Smith. He played with Rico Marcelli's band on the radio, gigged on trumpet with Joe Sanders, was with Henry Busse's Orchestra and worked with Paul Whiteman (1937). During 1939-1947 he mostly worked as Bing Crosby's accompanist. After leaving Crosby, LaVere had a million-selling record with Gordon Jenkins, singing "Maybe You'll Be There." Otherwise he worked in the studios and led his own bands, performing and recording Dixieland in addition to appearing annually at the Dixieland Jubilee with his group called "the Sextet from Hunger." LaVere recorded with Billie Holiday (1950) and Louis Armstrong (1951), worked regularly at Disneyland (1955-1959), was George Burns' accompanist for a time, gigged with Bob Crosby (1961-1962) and Wingy Manone (1963), and appeared with his own combos in Los Angeles-area clubs; he also worked in later years as a piano tuner and repairman. In addition to leading two sessions in 1935, LaVere led all-star dates for Jump in 1944, 1945, and 1950, with a group which (at various times) included Joe Venuti, Matty Matlock, George Van Eps, Joe Rushton, and Jack Teagarden.