[Dixielandjazz] Dixieland Bands in the 1950's

Don Ingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Fri Mar 5 07:49:33 PST 2004

This covers mostly the LA scene, and is only my personal recollections.
There were a lot of fine little bands working in the 50's -- one night a
week gigs in some cases, regular stands in others. I may miss a few, but in
the L.A. area there were bands under the leaders: Red Nichols, Clyde Hurley,
Kid Ory, Ted Vesley, Nappy LaMare, Rosie McHargue (after Nichols period),
Ben Pollack, and a few others my aged memory will recall as soon as I post
this. Teddy Buckner came on the scene a few years later.
The Ted Vesley band was a wonderful one. Ted was a superb trombonist (died
all too young), and had the equally superb Bobby Higgins on cornet and a
fine clarinetist named Stan Story (don't know what ever happened to him but
he was a good player.)
There were some fine singles going on as well -- pianists Lee Countryman,
Marvin Ash, even an occasional listing for Jess Stacey at some joint in Van
Nuys. Was fun watching Stacey play. He would just stick that right hand out
and grab a fistful of keys while his left hand pounded out the rhythm in a
boisterous stride. And it all melded so well.
The ultimate place to drop in was Club 47 in Studio City, owned by Nappy
LaMAre, Doc Rando, and Noni Bernardi. It was named for the AF of M local and
was the only place in town that the union had given carte blanche to have
jam sessions. It was a place where the top studio guys could come in and jam
just to keep their jazz chops up after only doing underscoring and recording
sessions. Heard guys like Johnny Best, Les Robinson, Abe Lincoln, Buddy
Cole, Eddie Miller, Matty Matlock, George Van Epps, Doc Whiting, Red Murphy,
and house drummer for a time Zutty Singleton. A few young Turks like myself
were allowed to sit in with the big guys and learn by doing. Having as many
as a dozen mentors a night was quite an education.
I remember sharing some of these sessions with Jackie Coon when we were both
still pups.
That is a partial idea of trad/okom action in the LA area in the 50's. Great
times, long gone but never forgotten.
Don Ingle

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