Rosy McHargue

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Although he is somewhat obscure, Rosy McHargue was the second oldest active jazz musician in history, behind Eubie Blake (who made it to 100). Always associated with Dixieland and 1920s jazz, McHargue…
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Although he is somewhat obscure, Rosy McHargue was the second oldest active jazz musician in history, behind Eubie Blake (who made it to 100). Always associated with Dixieland and 1920s jazz, McHargue in his later years developed into a singer with an encyclopediac knowledge of lyrics (including verses and alternate choruses) from many forgotten songs from the 1920s and before. At the age of 15 in 1917, he worked at his first professional engagement (with the Novelty Syncopators) and made his recording debut in 1922 playing "Wow Wow Blues" with Roy Schoenbeck's Orchestra. Other early recordings included dates with the Seattle Harmony Kings (1925), Frankie Trumbauer (1931), Ted Weems (1934), and Jimmy McPartland (1936). McHargue worked with the Wolverines in late 1925 after Bix Beiderbecke had departed, spent a year with the Seattle Harmony Kings, and played with Ted Weems from 1934-1942. After moving to Los Angeles, he worked briefly with Eddie Miller and Benny Goodman before having longer stints with Kay Kyser (1943-1946) and Red Nichols (1947-1951). McHargue, who took the purposely cornball clarinet solo on Pee Wee Hunt's unlikely hit version of "Twelfth Street Rag," played and recorded with Pete Dailey, and was active in Los Angeles' Dixieland scene, still appearing at jazz festivals in 1997. He died in his home in Santa Monica on June 8, 1999. At the time of his death he was considered one of the oldest active jazz musicians in the world. He recorded as a leader for Jump (1947 and 1952), Fairmont, Audiophile, Protone (1957), and Stomp Off (1992).