[Dixielandjazz] Studs Terkel and Barrett Deems

Don Ingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Mon May 5 17:50:31 PDT 2003

I recall a time in Indianapolis when we played a jazz fest there. Barrett
was with another group, and while we were on, he came up to Jean, who he
knew so well from JA]azz Ltd., and started talking -- as usual the first
words out were about who died or was divorced, or other tragedy of the
month. As usual, Barrett waved his hands around like a windmill.
A friend, not knowing Barrett or who he was, came over to protect Jean from
this seemingly mad man in case she needed it. I talked to Barrett later and
told him about the guy's concern. He laughed and said..."If I was some moron
trying to do something to Jean, I'd be in traction. I remember the night she
and Ruth Reinhardt tossed two very rowdy drunks out of  club without getting
and he thought I might be trouble...Ha!!"
As usual Barrett was windmilling with a pipe in his hand...and as expected
he dropped it in mid wind, breaking the stem. He did that at least one a
week at Jazz Ltd. He was Iwan Ries best customer. He didn't care -- always
$$ for a new one from the latest sale of all his six-month old Ziljian brass
after conning them into a free new set. The most charming little con artist
I ever knew. And a good, if frenetically-wired, friend.
Don Ingle

----- Original Message -----
From: <JimDBB at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2003 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Studs Terkel and Barrett Deems

> In a message dated 5/5/2003 12:43:19 PM Central Standard Time,
> charliehooks at earthlink.net writes:
> >  Chicago had and has so many great characters that we could write books.
> > Come to think of it, Studs Terkel probably already has.
> >
>      When you mentioned Studs Terkel the following incident came to mind.
> Studs is a bit like Columbo in that he is a lot sharper than he lets on.
>      As you know Studs Terkel has done a daily radio show in Chicago for
> years.  His Show is carried on WFMT, a high quality Classical music
> Terkel usually ha a guest on each day and the guests would cover a wide
> of people, writers, musicians politicians, actors and people in general of
> some particular interest. Barrett Deems called me one day and said that
> Terkel wanted him on his show as a guest.  Barrett asked if I would pick
> some records that he was on and go with him for this.
>      We took a mix of recordings; his first record with Joe Venuti,
> recordings with Muggsy Spanier, Louis Armstrong and others, including, of
> course, the recording on Delmark that he did with us. We walked into the
> studio and looked around.  There were a bunch of Studs's artifacts
> around...books, paintings and what not that people had given him.  I
> over in the corner, a toy drum.  I was puzzled and I began to wonder, did
> Studs put that toy drum there on purpose or is it some quirky gift that
> someone gave to him? Studs didn't refer to it all, didn't mention it or
> at it.  Barrett spotted it and proceeded to fool around with it, playing
> it and reminiscing about his his first drum.  Studs Terkel very neatly
> that in the show and I thought, "Studs Terkel is a clever s.o.b. He put
> drum there deliberately to draw Barrett into his childhood." This worked
> loosened Barrett up for the remainder of the program.  As effusive and
> outspoken as Barrett Deems is, he clams up on live radio.  The resulting
> was one of Studs's best.
>     I later did a show with Studs on the trombone.  He is very
> about Jazz and music in general.  He is well into his 80s and still going
> strong.  He and Franz Jackson were both on the Praire Home Companion some
> months back.
> Chicago is not the same without Barrett Deems and Mike Royko.  It is a
> blander place.
> Jim Beebe
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