[Dixielandjazz] Who is that masked child?

Don Ingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Sun Sep 7 10:16:15 PDT 2003

You ARE dense. It was Harry James. He learned to play via his father-led
circus band -- which calls for great musicianship, plus iron chops. These
guys play long shows, often in open air (under tent) conditions and either
get great chop strength or they don't last long. His technical training was
about as good as it gets learning from top circus band players and his old
Incidentally, he developed his "smaltzy" sound deliberately to make his horn
stand out from other players of the day.He didn't play that way before
becoming a bandleader.
In a recent post about his Double Dixie album, I recalled that my old
roommate (on the road with a couple bands), Jack Percival -- his piano man
for 17-years -- wrote several of the charts for that album. I believe that
Matty Matlock also wrote a couple for Harry a well.
When I caught the band in the 60's in Vegas he had Willy Smith playing lead
alto, Ray Sims on trombone, Buddy Rich on Drums, Red Kelly on bass, and Jack
Percival on piano. Five trumpets plus Harry, five bones, five saxes. A lot
of charts for that band by Ernie Wilkins and Neil Hefty.. Great band -- but
no one could afford it today.
Don Ingle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert S. Ringwald" <ringwald at calweb.com>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2003 11:52 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Who is that masked child?

> Audrey wrote:
> > I was spending a fun-filled evening at home last week, reading a Fall,
> 1929 Musical Enterprise magazine. This magazine features several pages of
> notes on musical happenings sent in from correspondents in different parts
> of the country. This particular note from fall of 1929 was sent in from a
> correspondent in Hagerstown, MD.
> >
> > "Christy Brothers Circus showed here Sept. 5 with a good outfit and a
> band. A feature to me of the whole show was Master James, 13-year-old son
> the director. This boy played first chair trumpet with ease and accuracy."
> >
> > I don't think any of you require any help in figuring out the identity
> young "master" James.
> >
> Am I dense or what?  Who was it?
> Bob
> mr.wonderful at ringwald.com
> Placerville, CA USA
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