The Billy Rubin Trio
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Bela Rubinovic a.k.a. Mr. Billy Rubin is the most underrated composer and bass player in Jazz-History. He was a talented arranger who wrote special scores that took advantage of the three-minute limitations of the 78 rpm records. But more than all these things, he was a real character whose spirit shines brightly through history, like his diamond studded smile. As a teenager Bela Rubinovic worked in the whorehouses of Storyville as a piano player. From 1914 to 1927 Bela rambled around the South. He worked as a gambler, pool shark, pimp, vaudeville comedian and as a bass player. He also was called 'The Boss on the Bass'. He played on the West Coast from 1927 to 1932 and then moved to Chicago and where he hit his stride.Read More...
He formed a band, the 'Bela Rubinovic Trio', and made a series of classic records. The recordings he made in Chicago featured some of the best sidemen like Andrea Luca 'AL' Meloni and Eduardo 'Fastfinger Eddie' Meloni (no relation). His band played their own style of Hot Jazz and eventually rose to become one of the most popular bands in the city.
That's when he began to work with several young talented singers, among them the 'Lost Daughter of Jazz', iris.t or Jazzy, a former dancer in one very duboius nightclub called 'Assassin's Asylum', which probably wasn't far off the mark: She joined the Bela Rubinovic Trio as iris.t one day suddenly dissapeared. Rumours say, she was killed by Jazzy; but as not even history could tell we assume that this is nothing more than a rumour. A few months after that Jazzy unfortunately disapeared herself. That's when Lady S., the Don's misled goddaughter, joined the Band shortly after her 18th Birthday. Her birtdaypresent was a brandnew Smith and Wesson. But that means nothing. That's understood.
Despite this and some more scandals the now called 'Billy Rubin Trio' was popular with both Whites and African-Americans. Nearly every other band of the 1930s borrowed something from them act or styled themselves to achieve their success.
Billy Rubin wrote and recorded songs like 'Is It Is Or Is It Aint', 'Come As You Are' or 'I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You', named after the film of the same name by Dave Fleischer (1930).
Though the depression was hard on most of the musicians, glamourous Billy Rubin was the darling of the Jet Set. Jack Hammond caused quite a stir by writing an article in Upbeat magazine suggesting that he was in to mafia-business. This proved not to be true, but the rumor persists to this day.