Teddy Powell

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Teddy Powell

Teddy Powell (Teodoro Paolella) (March 1, 1905 in Oakland, California – November 17, 1993 in New York City) was an American jazz guitarist, composer and big band leader. Some of his compositions were under the pseudonym Freddy James.

Teddy spent several years with the Abe Lyman band where he also served as a vocalist, arranger and helped out on the business side of things.

Powell began playing violin when he was eight, picked up the banjo when he was fourteen and led his first band the following year. They stayed together until 1944.

His own band hired several highly regarded musicians formerly with the Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Casa Loma orchestras. The band made its début at New York's Famous Door nightclub.

Teddy's big band was very popular for a short time in 1939 while they were in New York. Irving Fazola, Pete Mondello, John Austin, Nick Caizza, Carmen Mastren, Ely Davis, Hugh Brown, S.J. Kramer, John Popa, Jerry Shane, Irwin Berken featured on his bands.

In 1941 the band lost all of its instruments in a fire at a nightclub in New Jersey.

Teddy Powell retired from band-leading in 1954 and formed a music publishing company in New York City sometime prior to 1960 and prospered. The principal company, among many, was Tee Pee Music Co.