Oran Thaddeus "Hot Lips" Page, jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader, was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 27, 1908. He was the son of Greene and Maggie (Beal) Page. Page's mother, a schoolteacher and musician, taught him the basics of music when he was a child. By the age of twelve he could play the clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet. He joined a local youth band, led by drummer Lux Alexander, that played at local venues around Dallas. Page attended Corsicana High School and Texas College (in Tyler), and worked for a time in the oilfields.
He began his professional touring career when he joined Ma Rainey's band in the 1920s. After leaving that group he toured with Walter Page's Blue Devils from 1928 to 1931. During the early 1930s he toured with Bennie Moten's band. In 1936 he joined Count Basie's band for a short stint and subsequently played with Artie Shaw. Page formed his own big bands in the late 1930s and early 1940s, often playing in New York, Chicago, Boston, and other cities. Between 1938 and 1954 he cut several tracks, including the 1938 record "Skull Duggery" on the Bluebird label. He recorded "Pagin' Mr. Page" in 1944 and "St. James Infirmary" in 1947. He recorded with numerous bands during his career, including those of Artie Shaw, Bennie Moten, and Eddie Condon.
In addition to recording, Page appeared on numerous radio and television shows in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1948 he performed on NBC's Three Flames Show. He was featured on the CBS show Adventures in Jazz in 1949, and in 1951 he made an appearance with Pearl Bailey on TheEd Sullivan Show. Page continued to be musically active in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He led his own bands on extensive tours and played in various venues in Europe, including the 1949 Paris Jazz Festival. From 1952 until his health began to deteriorate in 1953, he worked various jazz shows around the United States.
In October 1954 he suffered a heart attack. Seven days later, on November 5, he died of complications from pneumonia in New York City. He is buried in Dallas Cemetery. Page was married twice. He had one child with his first wife, Myrtle, and two children with his second wife, Elizabeth. Page is an inductee in the Houston Institute for Culture's Texas Music Hall of Fame.
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John Chilton, Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street (New York: Chilton, 1972). Leonard Feather, ed., The Encyclopedia of Jazz (New York: Horizon Press, 1955). Sheldon Harris, Blues Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1979). H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie, eds., The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (New York: MacMillan, 1986). Barry Kernfeld, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (London: MacMillan, 1988). Eileen Southern, Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Westport Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982).
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Page, Oran Thaddeus [Hot Lips],”
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