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was a Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...
A bandleader is the leader of a band of musicians. The term is most commonly, though not exclusively, used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music....
, and composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...
from Baltimore, Maryland. She is not as well known as her younger brother Cab Calloway
Cabell "Cab" Calloway III was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City where he was a regular performer....
, but she may have been the first woman to lead an all male orchestra. Cab Calloway often credited her with being the reason he got into show business. She made her first recordings in 1925, with Louis Armstrong as a sideman on the session.
She recorded with a number of groups from the late 1920s through 1935, recording with Ruben Reeves and his River Boys in 1929 and fronting the Andy Kirk
Andrew Dewey Kirk was a jazz saxophonist and tubist best known as a bandleader of the "Twelve Clouds of Joy," popular during the swing era....
band briefly before forming Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys (with several members of that organization). In 1938 she disbanded the orchestra and worked as a solo act. In 1939 she converted to the Church of Christ, Scientist
The Church of Christ, Scientist was founded in 1879 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, by Mary Baker Eddy. She was the author of the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Christian Science teaches that the "allness" of God denies the reality of sin, sickness, death, and the material world...
From the 1950s through the 1970s, she worked as a disc jockey
A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, "disc" referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium.There are several types of disc jockeys...
and later program director at WMBM in Florida.