A trumpeter and singer who came of age in the decade immediately preceding rock, but had yet to fully establish himself as a recording artist, so upon getting a chance to cut records again in 1949 Calvin Boze moved into the outskirts of rock ‘n’ roll where he remained for the next few years, helped immeasurably by a great studio band.

Boze was born in Texas in 1916 and grew up in the same musical community that produced such legends as saxophonists Illinois Jacquet (as well as his brother Russell) and Arenett Cobb, playing with the three of them in their high school band. Boze then attended the same college as pianist/singer Charles Brown and played alongside the future cocktail blues star in the Prairie View Collegians.

Like many musicians of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s Boze began his professional career in the Western territory bands, non-recording acts that were popular touring groups due to their playing in towns where the big-name bands rarely ventured. After doing time with Marvin Johnson’s group he then joined Milt Larkin’s band alongside Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and his old friend Illinois Jacquet, before finding his way to Los Angeles after the War.

Boze had begun to sing in addition to his horn playing, modeling himself on Louis Jordan, the most popular bandleader of the 1940’s in the black community. But having just one recording session during that time meant he never was able to establish himself or his brand of music to a wider audience and when he finally got another chance to record in mid-1949 the musical landscape had shifted away from that style towards rock ‘n’ roll. So, paired with rock producer and sax star Maxwell Davis in the studio, Boze gave rock music a try and was generally at least adequate at it, scoring one national hit in 1950 with a remake of his first record from way back in 1945.

But though Boze was genuine in his attempts to fit in the quality of his sidemen were what gave him credibility. He put together his own band to tour in the early Nineteen Fifties but within a few years, now nearing forty, he faded from the scene, never recording again after 1952. He became a social worker and a teacher after retiring from music but before he could see a re-evaluation of his work he died at the age of 53 in 1970 after a prolonged period of poor health.

CALVIN BOZE DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Score 4008; October, 1949)
A noble first attempt to move into rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s not Boze’s singing or trumpet which makes this a passable effort, but rather the work on sax by Maxwell Davis, which gives it enough credibility to suffice. (4)

(Aladdin 3045; January, 1950)
Another conflicted turn by Boze whose vocal and stylistic approach still has too much Louis Jordan to make it as a rocker, but Maxwell Davis makes up for it with more exquisite sax work to keep it in the conversation in rock circles. (4)