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Robertson, Zue (C. Alvin)

Robertson, Zue (C. Alvin)

Robertson, Zue (C. Alvin) , early jazz trombonist; b. New Orleans, March 7, 1891; d. Watts, Calif., 1943. He played piano at age five, switched to trombone at 13, receiving tuition from his cousin, Baptiste Delisle. He did his first jobs with the Cherry Blossom Band led by drummer Cornelius Tillman. He went on tour (c. 1910), playing in a band accompanying the Kit Carson Wild West Show. He played at the opening of Pete Lala’s Cafe in New Orleans (c. 1912): during the following year he traveled to Chicago with a road show, then returned to play in New Orleans. He joined the Olympia Band, replacing Ed Vinson, and worked on trombone with Manuel Perez, and also with Richard M. Jones at George Fewclothes’s Club. He did occasional work with John Robichaux on trombone and with the P. G. Loral Band on euphonium. He moved to Chicago in 1917 to work at De Lure Cafe, with Jelly Roll Morton in 1923 and to tour with King Oliver in 1924. After extensive touring with W. C. Handy, he returned to Chicago to join Dave Peyton at the Grand Theatre before further touring in the “Drake and Walker Show.” Robertson settled in N.Y. from spring 1929 and worked mostly on piano and organ (at the Lincoln and Lafayette Theaters), but gave up trombone entirely in 1930. He moved to Calif, (c. 1932), working on piano and string bass throughout the 1930s. In 1943, he collapsed and died after suffering a pulmonary hemorrhage. It has been suggested that his correct nickname was Zoo, gained while Robertson was working with traveling circuses.

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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