Theodore (Teddy) McRae, a composer and arranger who worked with such jazz artists as Artie Shaw, Sy Oliver and Chick Webb, died
on March 4 at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.
91, a Jazz Musician
McRae's hits included "Back Bay Shuffle" (1938) and "Traffic Jam" (1939),
both written with Shaw, the clarinetist and band leader, who made
them into best-selling recordings.
McRae's other credits included "You Showed Me the Way," which he wrote
in 1937 with Ella Fitzgerald, Bud Green and Webb. He played saxophone
with the Chick Webb band from 1936 to 1939, also serving as
arranger and musical director, and led his own band in 1944.
In 1958 he formed the Enrica Records and Rae-Cox companies with Eddie
Wilcox and produced many record albums, including "Bennie Green
Swings the Blues" and Edmund Hall's "Rumpus on Rampart Street."
McRae was born in Waycross, Ga., and reared in Philadelphia.
He studied medicine, then switched to music and in 1928 organized a band
with his brothers, Bill, Ed, Floyd and Dave.
Later, he was musical director for Louis Armstrong and worked with the Lionel
Hampton and Cab Calloway orchestras.
He was a contributor to the Jazz Oral History Project of the Institute
of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University
in New Brunswick, N.J.
He is survived by his wife, Fredist; a son, Robert, and five daughters, Freda Staton, Norma McRae, Mattina Whitehead-Hamilton, Ethel Newbold
and Lavonia Reeves-Bailey.