[Dixielandjazz] 1950s New York City OKOM Reminisces

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 23 15:48:38 PST 2004

During the past weekend with Howard Kadison, we chatted about some of
the lesser known OKOM players in NYC during the 1950s, 1960s. The
Cinderella Club was a hub for OKOM and the following players and the
center of our conversation. Thought I pass on a few names to those who
might have been around the Big Apple then.

Howard Kadison - Great drummer. New to NYC, from Indiana, arriving in
1959. Worked extensively with Jamey Aebersold.  After NYC, he spent 20
years or so in New Orleans gigging with Pete Fountain, Al Hirt and
others. Still playing mostly in the Washington DC area. Has a gig with
Kenny Davern coming up there shortly. Later this year, possibly a tour
with a Gene Mayl group in the midwest.

Roswell Rudd - Trombonist with Eli's Chosen Six, often gigged there.
Went on to the more modern forms of music with Cecil Taylor, Archie
Shepp, Steve Swallow and a host of moderns. Still playing in his own
"tailgate style" with advanced harmonic's.

Steve Lacy - Superb Reed man. Like Rudd, originally OKOM/Dixieland then
found Thelonious Monk and expanded his harmonic mind. Resided in Europe
for a while. Still playing and innovating.

Jack Fine - A HOT New Orleans style trumpet player. Pallbearer at Pee
Wee Russell's funeral, he knew and played with all the NYC OKOMers in
those days. Later moved to Pennsylvania, was a NARC for a while, did
occasional gigs. Then moved to France, then finally to Gretna LA a few
years ago. Recently toured Europe. Still Playing HOT in his late 70s. He
and I did a road trip or two. Women love Jack Fine.

Johnny Windhurst - A fine trumpet player and a favorite at the
Cinderella. You all know about him I think. Passed away a while back.

Richard Sudhalter - A fine trumpet player and a favorite around NYC
then. Also a historian and you all know about him. He recently suffered
a stroke. Not sure if playing at the moment.

Kenny Davern - You all know about him. Still playing his ass off. He
would carve me up regularly at Cinderella and Loft cutting sessions back
then. They were great lessons.

Bob Wilber - You all know about him. He was also at Condon's during that
time. Still Playing.

Dick Rath - A fine trombonist. Very musical, much sought after. Passed
away a while back.

Ahmed Abdul Malik - Strong bassist. Had been gigging/recording with
Thelonious Monk. He decided to go back to the roots and became an OKOMer
all over again. Drummers loved him. Lost touch with him. Not sure if
alive or not.

Bobby Pring - Fine trombonist. Not a wrong note in the horn. Still

Dick Wellstood - Pianist. His duets with Kenny Davern are the stuff
legend is made from. Passed away a while back.

Gene Schroeder - Pianist, you all know about this fine stride player who
also gigged at Condon's. Passed away a while back.

Effie Resnick - Fine trombonist. Gigged mostly in NYC and Philadelphia.
Still playing around NYC.

Johnny Blowers - Great drummer, gigged there a time or two. He has
played with EVERYBODY from 1930 onward. Still playing in NYC at 90+. His
signature tune is Caravan, from about the same time, or maybe a month or
so earlier than Gene Krupa's Sing Sing Sing. Both deserve the credit for
innovating full chorus drum solos.

Chuck Traeger - Wonderful bassist and my best friend in the music
business at the time. He also worked at Nick's with Spargo, Maxted,
Napoleon, Erwin et al. Also with Bob Wilber's "Wildcats" who played with
both Bechet and Bunk Johnson circa 1947 or so. He is retired from
playing, lives in NY State's Catskill Mountains, is writing a book on
The Care & Feeding of Double Bass" after being a expert bass repair man
too, from about 1975 on.

Lee Gifford. - the high register, very energetic trombonist. He also
worked a Nick's with Erwin. Lost touch after gigging with him in 1962.
Anybody know more about him?

Those are just a few who were there. Many others that I can't bring to
mind at the moment. Any list mates out there who might remember a few
more? I think perhaps that list mate Warren Vache Sr. may have gigged at
Cinderella also, but I am not sure.

Also, possibly reedman Sam Parkins and trumpeter Lee Lorenz who are
still alive and gigging in NYC.

Steve Barbone

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