Herb Jeffries


Big Band star HERB JEFFRIES sang for many of the famous bands during the Swing Era (and before the Era!), starting with McKinney's Cotton Pickers (under the direction of Don Redman) Detroit, MI 1930; Erskine Tate and his Vendome Orchestra, Chicago 1933; Earl “Fatha” Hines and his Grand Terrace Orchestra, Chicago 1933-35; Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, NYC 1936; Blanche Calloway (Cab's sister) 1936-37; and of course, Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra 1939-42. While with Ellington he was featured in the ground-breaking musical JUMP FOR JOY in 1941.

Herb, still alive and well, turns 100 on September 24, 2013. There will be a celebration in Apple Valley the following weekend. See flyer below for more info.


Video Interviews with Tad and Herb


1) Herb first meets Louis Armstrong

2) Herb remembers Duke Ellington

3) Herb talks about Jump For Joy


Tad and Herb 2009

Tad and Herb, after concert at the Star Theater, Oceanside,
August, 2011 … a few weeks before Herb's 98th birthday



Press Release For immediate release

Herb Jeffries Birthday Celebration


The Herb Jeffries 100th Birthday Celebration committee, the Town of Apple Valley, the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, the Black Heritage Committee, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, and the Roy Rogers Ranch constitute a sampling of organizations that cordially invite the residents of the Victor Valley to join us September 28 and 29, 2013, as we celebrate the 100th birthday of “The Bronze Buckaroo.” In his early years Jeffries sang with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and is the only surviving member of that group.

During the 1930’s Jeffries made two musical westerns at the Murray’s Overall Wearing Dude Ranch in Apple Valley, the only dude ranch in the world owned and operated by African-Americans. “Harlem Rides the Range” and “The Bronze Buckaroo” were both filmed at the Murray’s Ranch, located on what is now the northwest corner of Dale Evans Parkway and Waalew, in 1939. The fight scene at the end of “The Bronze Buckaroo” is shot northeast of the intersection of Popago and Century Plant. Sat. Sept. 28 the Herb Jeffries celebration will begin at 10:30 am. with a tour of those film locations: the Murray Ranch site and Sycamore Rocks. The tour will be led by John Bascom, President of the Mohahve Historical Society.

A banquet in Jeffries’ honor will be held at the Historic Apple Valley Inn the evening of the 28th. Doors open at 5:30 P.M. Cost for the banquet is $35.00 per individual or $60.00 per couple if purchased prior to the event day. Tickets at the door will cost $40.00 per individual or $70.00 per couple. An event program is included with ticket purchase. Guests will be feted with talented musical entertainment by Jimmie Smith and Company, both jazz and western tunes, tributes to Herb Jeffries, plus a delicious buffet dinner catered by the Ambassador Hotel.

Sunday Sept. 29 events at Oro Grande will be held at the Roy Rogers Double R Bar Ranch. Cowboy Church will begin at 10:00 A.M. with a message by Gabby Hayes (aka Dale Park) and music by the Bascom Ranch Band. The first Jeffries film, “Harlem Rides the Range,” filmed at Murray Ranch in Apple Valley in 1939, will commence at 11:00 am 12:00 noon will be a lunch break with food available for purchase from Old Town Hot Dogs, owned by Roy and Dale’s biological nephew, David O’Dell. For those desirous of resting after lunch there will be entertainment and music at 1:00. “The Bronze Buckaroo,” also filmed at the Murray Ranch in 1939, will be shown at 2:00 pm, Through these films, Jeffries was making history in an era when strict separation of the races was in vogue. His singing cowboy films had an all-Black cast, complete with the singing cowboy group “The Four Tones.”

Cost for the Sunday adventure at the ranch is only $5.00, and parking is free. Come and enjoy this mini-film festival. Tickets for both events are now on sale at the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce office, 16010 Apple Valley Rd., 2 blocks north of Highway 18. (Turn left into Spirit River Center, then go right, then left around the corner.) Contact number 760-242-2753. Marcy Taylor also has tickets available, contact 760-985-1918. The official hotel for out-of-town guests is the Ambassador, located at the Palmdale Rd. exit of the I-15. Room rates are $59.00 per night and includes breakfast for two. Sponsorships are available for those desirous of joining forces to support this historic event. Call Marcy Taylor for additional information.We encourage residents of the Victor Valley and Western/jazz aficionados to join us in celebrating a living legend, Herb Jeffries, “The Bronze Buckaroo,” who contributed to the history of Apple Valley.


Click here to view PDF file with information about the event.





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