Greg Poppleton

21 May - Hear 1940s Jazz Harpsichord on this week's Phantom Dancer LISTEN

Bob Effros 1920s-30s Trumpet Star – 28 July Phantom Dancer

Bob Effros, jazz trumpeter and composer, is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. His recording career began in the 1920s and he made over 200 recordings.

His granddaughter, Barbara Effros is writing a book about this 1920s jazz trumpet great.

Her book is titled, ‘Bob Effros: The Laughing Trumpeter’.

Barbara writes, “He is known for his ‘maniacal laughter’ in Fleischer cartoons and songs recorded with Ben Selvin like, ‘Sing You Sinners’ and other Selvin and Harry Reser hits; ‘Ice Scream, You Scream, (We All Scream For Ice Cream)’ and others.”

Barbara adds some important background to this week’s blog about her grandfather whose trumpet you’ve heard probably hundreds of times maybe without even knowing.

You’ll definitely know when you hear his trumpet on this week’s Phantom Dancer mix. It’s in a 1930 cardboard Hit of the Week recording in which he takes a solo. And it’s in an extended solo on his own composition, ‘Tin Ear’, backed by Arthur Schutt on piano, recorded in 1929. It’s your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week.

Listen to The Phantom Dancer non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week. Presented and produced by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton, The Phantom Dancer’s been on-air over 107.3 2SER Sydney since 1985.

You can enjoy The Phantom Dancer online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 28 July at where you can also hear two years of archived shows.

The finyl hour is vinyl.

Bob Effros 1932 rhythm magazine


Bob Effros’ granddaughter, Barbara, is writing a book about her jazz trumpeter grandfather, ‘Bob Effros: The Laughing Trumpeter’.

Maybe you can help her fill in the gaps about his tours of Australia and South America?

Barbara wrote to me about where the book is at right now, “Still working on book – it’s a labor of love. I’ve become immersed in jazz history, personalities, Black/White cultural issues in USA/UK. I’ve yet to fully research Grandpa’s performances in Australia and South America. I have passports, ship manifestos galore. Perhaps you can direct me regarding Australian music magazines of the 1930s and 40s?”

If you have any info about Bob Effros, please contact Barbara for her book at

Read more about Bob Effros at,


Barbara wrote a short biography of Bob Effros published in The Syncopated Times, 1 January 2017

She writes that Bob was born in London in 1900 and moved with his parents to Memphis when aged three. He ran away from home at 11 and worked on the riverboats where he heard jazz and picked up the cornet, listening to Joe ‘King’ Oliver. From 1917-19 he was a bugler in the US Army.

“After the war ended, he settled down in Baltimore playing in a band led by dancer and vocalist Bee Palmer. When Bob Effros arrived in New York, his only friend was from Memphis: W.C. Handy, ‘Father of The Blues.’ Mr. Handy sent the young trumpeter to Sam Lanin for his first gig, and was hired to play at the Roseland Ballroom.”


Bob soon became in-demand trumpeter on the New York scene. He was in the Vincent Lopez Orchestra from 1921-27, being paid the huge weekly salary of $500-$1000 over this period. “That’s why grandpa stayed with Lopez,” writes Barbara Effros. “Paul Whiteman couldn’t match that amount.”

Bob was playing for the Whiteman band in 1929 and sat in for Bix Beidebecke (more on that further on). That same year, 1929, he was also leading his own orchestra.

In the meantime he toured Europe frequently with Lopez with whom he remained a life-long friend.

Bob Effros recorded about 20 sides with Annette Hanshaw (my favourite singer) in NY on hits like ‘You’re the Cream in My Coffee’.

Other famous singers on whose recordings he played in the 1920s include Bessie Smith, the Boswell Sisters, Libby Holman, Ruth Etting, Ethel Waters, Mae Questal and Fanny Brice.

He played with Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Sam Lanin, Vincent Lopez, Red Nichols, Harry Reser and Ben Selvin.

He made recordings alongside such famous sidemen as Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway, Xavier Cugat, Al Jolson, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Jimmy Durante, Washboard Sam, W.C. Handy, Scrappy Lambert, Red Nichols, and Fats Waller.

Paul Whiteman chose Bob effros to fill in for the legendary trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. Beidebecke had left the Whiteman Orchestra in 1929 because of health issues due to alchoholism. While he was away, Whiteman famously kept Bix’s chair open in Beiderbecke’s honour, in the hope that he would occupy it again. However, when he returned to New York at the end of January 1930, Beiderbecke did not rejoin Whiteman and performed only sparingly.

About this, Barbara adds,

“Paul Whiteman chose Bob Effros to fill in for legendary trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke during one of Bix’s final radio performances. Whiteman was known to leave an empty seat hoping Bix could return. However, Whiteman did need a trumpeter for the show and designated a separate seat for Bob Effros to fill in for Bix.”

Bob Effros article by Barbara Effros


Bob wrote over a dozen hit songs including ‘Why The Twenties Roared,’ ‘Tin Ear’ (this week’s Phantom Dancer video), ‘Cornfed’, and ‘Why Don’t You Get Lost?’. ‘Sweet and Hot’ was his ode to Chinese soup.


According to German wiki, in 1929, Bob started a family and got steady employment as a studio musician for Vitaphone, recording music for the Betty Boop, Popeye and Felix the Cat cartoons.

He also worked in radio orchestras, including the orchestra (where he was featured trumpeter) put together for the 1930 and 1931 season of ‘The Philco Hour’ recorded at WABC (CBS) NY.

On 27 August 1929 he recorded, under his own name for Brunswick (#4620), his own composition ‘Tin Ear’ (this recording is this week’s video, below) and ‘Sweet and Hot’, which was composed by his friend, the trumpeter, Mike Mosiello.

Bob remained active in the studios into the 1940s.

Barbara writes, “[He also] Spent a couple years in Los Angeles with Max Roach Studios recording for Little Rascals Shows, Buster Keaton, Marx Brothers, and more.” You hear Bob on those great Little Rascals and Laurel and Hardy comedy short soundtracks.

Bob Effros Fleischer Cartoons

Photos from:
Read more:

If you have any info about Bob Effros, please contact Barbara for her book at


On my LP copy of ‘If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight’ the liner notes query whether the trumpet solo is by Bob Effros or Red Nichols.

When I asked Barbara about this, she wrote back,

“Hi Greg, yes indeed. This is my Grandpa Bob Effros with Dick Robertson on vocals. He recorded over 50 sides on HOW Discs including songs with Rudy Vallee , Eddie Cantor and others. Am building the HOW discography. Grandpa recorded over 200 recordings and composed 13 songs. ‘Tin Ear’, ‘Cornfed’ and ‘Why Don’t You Get Lost’ are most popular from the 1920s. In 1942 he composed ‘Memr’y of this Dance’ with Ben Selvin. Also ‘A Million Reasons to Smile’ with Al Sherman recorded by Abe Lyman.”


Your Phantom Dancer Video of the Week is a beautiful trumpet solo by Bob Effros on his own composition, Tin Ear, with piano accompaniment by Arthur Schutt and recorded in 1929. The YouTube uploader puts the date as October 1929. The actual recording date is 27 August 1929. Enjoy!

When the 2SER studio opens again for live Phantom Dancer shows, I’ll play a special Bob Effros set. Stay tuned!


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #447

107.3 2SER Tuesday 28 July 2020
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program:
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2MCE Bathurst / Orange / Central West NSW Wednesday 9 – 10am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Sunday 5 – 6am

Set 1
Rhythms by the Big Bands on 1945 Radio
Open + Out Of This World
Boyd Raeburn Orchestra (voc) David Allen
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
KQW CBS San Francisco
27 Jul 1945
Take The A Train + Suddenly It Jumped
Duke Ellington Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood
Jan 1945
Riding To Glory On A Trumpet + Body and Soul + Close
Horace Heidt Orchestra + Close
‘One Night Stand’
Trianon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
AFRS Re-broadcast
23 Jan 1945
Set 2
1930s – 1940s Variety Shows
Open + Goody Goody
Texaco Orchestra and Chorus
‘Texaco Star Theatre’
31 Mar 1936
Open (Wintergreen for President) + Change Partners + Thanks For The Memory
Bob Hope, Skinnay Ennis Orchestra (voc) Skinnay Ennis
‘Pepsodent Show’
27 Sep 1938
Again + Close
Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Dick Stabile Orchestra
‘Martin and Lewis Show’
8 May 1949
Set 3
Modern Jazz On 1950s Radio
Jet Propulsion
Illinois Jacquet
‘Stars in Jazz’
Well You Needn’t + It Never Entered My Mind
Miles Davis
‘Bandstand USA’
Cafe Bohemia
WOR Mutual NY
15 Sep 1956
Set 4
Traditional Jazz Sounds on 1940s-50s Radio
Open + Kerry Dance
Henry Levine Octet
‘Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street’
21 Jul 1941
Rocking Chair
Louis Armstrong All-Stars (voc) Louis Armstrong + Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Basin Street
14 May 1955
Clarinet Marmalade + Close
Wild Bill Davison
‘This Is Jazz’
WOR Mutual New York
3 May 1947
Set 5
Hit Of The Week Cardboard Records – Bob Effros plays on ‘If I Could Be with You One Hour Tonight’.
Reaching For The Moon
Sam Lanin’s Dance Orchestra (voc) Scrappy Lambert
Hit of the Week Record
New York City
Mar 1931
I’m Keeping Company
Hit of the Week Orchestra (voc) Scrappy Lambert
Hit of the Week Record
New York City
Aug 1931
Pardon Me Pretty Baby
Sam Lanin’s Dance Orchestra (voc) Paul Small
Hit of the Week Record
New York City
Jan 1932
If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
Hit of the Week Orchestra (voc) Dick Robertson (tp solo Bob Effros)
Hit of the Week Record
New York City
Dec 1930
Set 6
Swing Bands on ‘Spotlight Bands’
Open + Sugarfoot Stomp
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Springfield Mass
Blue Network
29 Sep 1943
Open + Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
Charlie Spivak Orchestra (voc) Irene Day
Spotlight Bands’
Jamestown NY
Blue Network
19 Jan 1945
It Happened In Monterey
Gene Krupa Orchestra (voc) G-Noters
‘Spotlight Bands’
Newport Rhode Island
Blue Network
2 Oct 1944
The Minor Goes A Muggin’
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Mutual Network
5 Nov 1945
Set 7
‘Mickey Mouse Bands’ on 1935 – 1940 Radio
Open + Isn’t Love The Grandest Thing
Guy Lombardo Orchestra (voc) Lombardo Trio
‘Esso Boulevarde’
7 Oct 1935
Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Jan Garber Orchestra (voc) Lee Bennett
Radio Transcription
New York City
The Yam
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Charlie Fisher
Radio Transcription
New York City
Sunshine Of My Heart
Chuck Foster Orchestra (voc) Dorothy Brandon
Radio Transcription
Set 8
Duke Ellington’s Extended Works on ‘A Date With The Duke’ (ABC)
Diminuendo In Blue / Rocks In My Bed / Crescendo In Blue
Duke Ellington Orchestra (voc) Joya Sherill
‘A Date With The Duke’
ABC Toledo OH
9 Jun 1945
Blue Bells Of Harlem
Duke Ellington Orchestra
‘A Date With The Duke’
WJZ ABC Radio City NY
7 Jul 1945

Back to the News

Available now! Get your copy


Keep in touch with the monthly newsletter