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Theodore McRae 
Teddy McRae
  
March  4, 1999
Age 91
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OBITUARY 
        
          Theodore McRae, 91, a Jazz Musician
                 Theodore (Teddy) McRae, a composer and arranger who worked with such jazz artists as Artie Shaw, Sy Oliver and Chick Webb, died on March 4 at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

          McRae's hits included "Back Bay Shuffle" (1938) and "Traffic Jam" (1939), both written with Shaw, the clarinetist and band leader, who made them into best-selling recordings.

          McRae's other credits included "You Showed Me the Way," which he wrote in 1937 with Ella Fitzgerald, Bud Green and Webb. He played saxophone with the Chick Webb band from 1936 to 1939, also serving as arranger and musical director, and led his own band in 1944.

          In 1958 he formed the Enrica Records and Rae-Cox companies with Eddie Wilcox and produced many record albums, including "Bennie Green Swings the Blues" and Edmund Hall's "Rumpus on Rampart Street."

          McRae was born in Waycross, Ga., and reared in Philadelphia.

          He studied medicine, then switched to music and in 1928 organized a band with his brothers, Bill, Ed, Floyd and Dave.

          Later, he was musical director for Louis Armstrong and worked with the Lionel Hampton and Cab Calloway orchestras.

          He was a contributor to the Jazz Oral History Project of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

          He is survived by his wife, Fredist; a son, Robert, and five daughters, Freda Staton, Norma McRae, Mattina Whitehead-Hamilton, Ethel Newbold and Lavonia Reeves-Bailey.


NY TIMES
 

Theodore McRae

          NEW YORK (AP) -- Theodore "Teddy'' McRae, an arranger and composer who worked with such jazz notables as Sy Oliver and Chick Webb, died March 4. He was 91.  

          McRae's hits include "Back Bay Shuffle'' (1938) and ``Traffic Jam'' (1939), both written with clarinetist and band leader Artie Shaw.  

          McRae also wrote "You Showed Me the Way'' (1937) with Ella Fitzgerald, Bud Green and Webb.  

          He played the saxophone and served as arranger and musical director with Webb's band from 1936 to 1939.  

          In 1958, McRae formed the Enrica Records and Rae-Cox companies with Eddie Wilcox. He produced many record albums, including "Bennie Green Swings the Blues'' and "Rumpus on Rampart Street.'' 

 

Visitor Comment:
...But how about his wonderful 'Mr Bear' records on the Groove label in the mid-50s? ~Andrew Schofield

 

 

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B: January 22, 1908, Waycross, GA
D: March 4, 1999, New York, NY

All Music Guide

As important an arranger as he was a tenor-saxophonist, Teddy McRae made important, behind-the-scenes contributions to several bands, most notably Chick Webb's. After playing with local groups, including a family band, McRae worked with June Clark in 1926 and then in 1927 moved to New York where he initially led his own group. Among his musical associations during the next decade were Charlie Johnson, Elmer Snowden (1932), Stuff Smith (1934), Lil Armstrong (1935) and most importantly Chick Webb (1936-39), for whom he contributed both solos and arrangements. McRae remained with Webb's orchestra after the drummer's death, acting as the musical director for a period while the group was fronted by Ella Fitzgerald (1939-41). He had stints with the orchestras of Cab Calloway (1941-42), Jimmie Lunceford (1942), Lionel Hampton (1943) and Louis Armstrong (being his musical director during 1944-45). McRae recorded during the 1930s with small groups headed by Benny Morton, Teddy Wilson and Henry "Red" Allen; wrote "Back Bay Shuffle" for Artie Shaw; and led his own band in 1945. He formed the short-lived Raecox label with Eddie Wilcox (although he never recorded for it) and primarily worked as a freelance arranger thereafter. McRae only recorded a few isolated titles as a leader, including two songs for King in 1945, six for Groove in 1955 (mostly as a vocalist) and two R&Bish vocal numbers for Moonshine in 1958, although he did record with Champion Jack Dupree from 1955-56. Scott Yanow
 
 

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For Chick Webb CD's try:
 

Jazz Hall Biography

 
 
 

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