Jo Trent...

by Brad Kay

...who was a very bright and versatile guy, was musician and lyricist both. He must have kibitzed over "Whiteman Stomp" with Fats Waller, a frequent songwriting partner. Look up Trent's credits - you'll be amazed at some of the songs he wrote, and at his connections in the music business.

Jo Trent managed his own record company for two months in 1924/5 - "Blu-Disc" (Dec. '24) and "Up-To-Date" (Jan. '25). In that eyeblink, he got both Duke Ellington and Paul Robeson on record for the first time, so he was a hell of a talent scout, too. Later ('25-'26?), he worked as a kind of musical consultant for the Grey Gull company, and copyrighted many tunes for them, many of which he co-wrote with Ellington and Waller, or were written by them alone. These would have been used as "B" sides on that label, with bogus titles and composer credits.

Thus, there is a strong chance that in the Library of Congress, there's a huge dusty file under Jo Trent's name, with loads of unknown compositions by both Fats and Duke.

-Brad Kay

Posted on Nov 22, 2011, 12:25 PM

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