[Dixielandjazz] Wild Bill

Robert S. Ringwald ringwald at calweb.com
Mon Mar 15 13:23:24 PST 2004

I may have posted this story before on DJML but it is worth repeating.

I first met Bill at one of our Sacramento Jazz Jubilees.

I believe that Bill was somewhat self taught.  He really didn't blow the
trumpet correctly.  Thus it would take him a long time to get warmed up.

I remember sitting with him in his hotel room while he was doing his warm-up
routine--a sip & a blow, a sip & a blow.  After a couple of hours of this,
he would be ready to go.

Anyway, the first time I met him was on the street in Old Sacramento during
the Jubilee.  He was standing around, blowing a few notes on his horn to
warm up.  I was standing there with him when a pretty young girl walked by.

Bill said, "Nice ass."

A man said, "That's my daughter."

Without even skipping a beat, Bill said, "Nice face."

We later recorded with him.  That was a great experience.

He drank during the session, reached a peak in his playing & then began to
drop off.  We ended up carrying him out of the studio.

If it wasn't for Annie, he would have never lived as long as he did.  In
those years, she had a way of controlling his drinking & smoking, somewhat.
He always sneaked  some & she kinda knew it & looked the other way, to a

Of course, in later years it became more important for him to watch his
drinking & smoking.  I think he eventually did quit drinking but not sure.

Another time, when I was doing my Jazz radio show in Los Angeles, I
interviewed him on the telephone.  I knew he was in Santa Barbara.

When I asked him where he was calling from, without skipping a beat, he
said, "Las Vegas."

He was certainly one of a kind & one of the greats & it was a real honor to
have known & played with him.

mr.wonderful at ringwald.com
Placerville, CA, USA, Earth, Sol's System, Milky Way
Amateur (ham) Radio Station K6YBV
Fulton Street Jazz Band
See: http://www.ringwald.com
Boondockers Jazz & Comedy Band
See: http://www.theboondockers.com

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