Clarence Love

January 25, 1908 - January 18, 1998

Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Clarence Love moved with his family to Kansas City in 1912.  He attended Attucks Elementary School and studied violin with ragtime pianist Charles T. Watts, a former student of Scott Joplin. Love immersed himself in the music of Kansas City, hearing Blind Boone play at the Labor Temple and dancing in the street outside Lyric Hall to the music of George E. Lee drifting out the open windows on hot summer nights.

In 1922, Love formed his first band, a six-piece unit that played for school dances. After graduation in 1926, Love briefly attended Crane University in Chicago. Upon his return to Kansas City, he joined the Musicians' Protective Union and formed another band influenced by the sweet music of Guy Lombardo. Love shied away from black clubs and the battles of the bands at Paseo Hall, preferring the El Torreon and Pla-Mor Ballrooms.

Love left Kansas City and relocated to Texas in 1933 after a dispute between his father and the head of the musicians' union. During World War II, Love led an all-girl band, the Darlings of Rhythm. When his father died, Clarence moved back to Tulsa and began another Clarence Love Orchestra. In 1948, he opened his own club, The Love Lounge, where locally and nationally prominent musicians would congregate and play. He owned and operated clubs until 1957 when he returned to the booking business. Love died in Tulsa on January 18, 1998.

University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Wooley, John.  "Love's Labor Found." Tulsa, April 1985, pages 68-71.
Pearson, Nathan.  Goin' to Kansas City. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.
Correspondence with Clarence Love, 1995. Marr Sound Archives.