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The High Prince of Hi-De-Ho, Cab Calloway, 86; in Delaware, Nov. 18, after suffering a stroke last June. One of the last of the great big-band leaders -- the ultimate hepcat -- Calloway bequeathed a rich legacy to jazz lovers, performers and romantics alike.

Born Cabell Calloway III on Christmas Day 1907, Calloway trained to become a lawyer like his father but was seduced by the early jazz bands playing in Baltimore's dives. That led to 60 years as a bandleader, singer, author, dancer and songwriter -- in Chicago jazz joints, in Harlem's famed Cotton Club, on Broadway and in Hollywood. Taking his all-black band on the road, he integrated halls long before the civil-rights movement.

Calloway's influence was widespread: he hired an unknown Dizzy Gillespie, promoted the careers of Pearl Bailey and Lena Horne and made scat famous with his hi-de-ho refrain in the song ""Minnie the Moocher'' -- a refrain he says he invented during a concert when he forgot the words to the song. He was, reputedly, the model for Sportin' Life in ""Porgy and Bess,'' a role he played on Broadway and in Europe during the '50s. He introduced himself to a later generation through the 1980 hit film ""The Blues Brothers.''

While not a great jazz soft-shoe, Calloway's moves were the precursor to those of James Brown and even Michael Jackson. His genius, mixing vaudeville and jazz, won him fans far beyond the African-American community. Pure jazz singers might have cringed, but not his admirers. His epitaph, as he wrote in his autobiography: ""Women, horses, cars, clothes. I did it all. And do you know what that's called, ladies and gentlemen? It's called living.''

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