Re:    Re: [Dixielandjazz] Who is that masked child?

Paul Reid whadayesay at
Mon Sep 8 21:46:37 PDT 2003

Don Ingle wrote; (Re; Harry James Orch.)
     <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 as 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>

     Right you are Don. The band occaisonly does some cruises, but it is
a toug nut to crack for that many musicians.     The years of 66 and 67,
I was with the group on the road tours. What a great experience, and
what a wonderful roster of musicians. During those years, and  tours,
the band had FOUR different drummers. Louis Belson, Buddy Rich, Paul
Humphry, and Sonny Payne. I was on Buddy's last road tour when he left
Harry to form his famous "West Side Story" band. But Harrys group cooked
and cooked hard. Also, doing vocals was Ernie Andrews. Harrys' book was
as tight as anyone could ask for. Pat Longo was also on the band along
with Joe Riggs and Arno Marsh. Joe Cadena also on Trombone with Ray
Simms. That band was the group that recorded the "Live At The Riverboat"
Lp for Dot Records. Also 2 TV shows done at WGN-TV, which featured big
bands, were taped with Harrys Orch. in that same time period. Done in
color, they have been released only in B&W commercial video. Buddy Rich
was on both of those. Yes, Jack Percival and Red Kelly were there
playing Piano and Bass respectfully. 
      So, as a pianist, what was I doing with the band? Well, Harry had
this idea to have a pianist for the intermissions on the dance dates.
That was me. I also was a feature vocalist and piano guy on the
concerts. But Jack Percival was the piano guy with the band. Many
stories that I won't tell here, that also were not included in the
"Trumpet Blues"  bio on things that happened on the road. All funny. I
never got interviewed. But, IMHO, the book is an honest picture of
      I took many rolls of 8mm film when I was with the band. At one
time recently, I aperoached someone who produced and directed a show I
did for PBS television about doing a show on Harry. But the glitch was
paying the tremendous fees for the movie clips featuring Harry. Ted
Turner has the rights to most of them. I'm pretty sure Sal Monte who
survived his brother Pee Wee as manager has home movies of Harry also.
       Feels like it's time again to exploit the big band era in a more
"in focus" perspective of the band leaders, individually. Like Harry,
the Dorsey's, Charlie Barnet etc. There is still a wealth of footage out
there that has not been exploited or used for even the Ken Burns series.
Lionel Hampton as an example. Anybody for sequiling Burns' series in a
more spotlighted and concentrated format? How about starting with Harry?
I mean, how many of you trumpet guy's out there were influenced by him
playing Carnival Of Venice, Flight Of The Bumblebee, You Made Me Love
You, or Trumpet Blues when you were younger. How many who were in that
band were dumb enough to try to play better than Harry? Nobody ever
succeded there, when Harry was at the top of his game which was the
majority of his carear.
       I just wanted to get my two cents worth in here.

Paul (Where's my old Elkart cornet?) Reid

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list