According to standard belief, anyone who trusted Eddie Mallory did so on the basis of his career as a musician -- not because he later chose to labor in not one but two of the sketchiest professions known to mankind, booking agent and car salesman. He was a talented performer whose early professional training was in territory bands such as the Alabamians. Mallory played both trumpet and saxophone and was a talented arranger, yet the most noteworthy aspects of his career were the identities of two people who were very close to him, their fame easily dominating his own respectable three decades in the music business and a discography that would strain the back of a healthy camel.
Mallory was one of the great singer Ethel Waters' husbands as well as the leader of her backup band between 1935 and 1939. This gave the intimidating Waters double the opportunity to boss him around but that may have still been less pressure than he was under in the following decade when one hell of a tough guy decided to take on the sponsorship of Mallory's own band, boxer Joe Louis. Mallory began with the Alabamians in 1927, most of his tenure with this group under the leadership of Marion Hardy. As that ensemble took on new leaders and modified its repertoire, Mallory cut out in 1931 to work with bandleader Tiny Parham -- whose group he managed to seize control of during extended runs at several Chicago nightspots. That action temporarily ended Mallory's presence in Chicago -- he had been there since birth, although researchers don't seem too sure when that might have been, estimating 1905. He headed for New York City, picking up quite respectable experience with the brilliant Benny Carter as well as the Mills Blue Rhythm Band and the Arcadians.
In the '40s Mallory pretty much just led his own groups until quitting music entirely. Much of his music was created back in Chicago where in the middle of the decade his band regularly boogied at the raunchy Rhumboogie. Louis stepped into the picture in 1946, thankfully holding his punches, but the final result of the boxer's backing was Mallory's ducking into Atlantic City to become a booking agent. He returned to New York City in the '50s, at first literally shifting gears as the manager of an auto sales enterprise. Mallory went back to being a booking agent until his death in the early '60s. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi