[Dixielandjazz] Joe Bushkin and Pete Jolly

Stan Brager sbrager at socal.rr.com
Tue Nov 9 08:22:00 PST 2004

Here are 2 more obituaries from Steve Voce.
> "In some of the hotels we stayed in the rats were bigger than the trombone
> players."
>    Pianist Joe Bushkin found touring with the band led by trumpeter Bunny
> Berigan in the Thirties was a good introduction to hard living. Bushkin
> Berigan were musical jewels in an abrasive business where it was a
> to stay alive.
>   Throughout his career Bushkin stood out as a magical and apparently
> infallible soloist. His light, floating style was unmistakable Always
> associated with Swing, it's more appropriate to think of him as a man who
> composed and improvised beautiful melody. He was a gift to songwriters,
> his interpretations brought elegance to their work that kept the best of
> essence of Broadway without ever leaving jazz. Appropriately he composed
> music for Broadway shows. He was largely an original player, but his early
> years were influenced by the playing of the black musicians Earl Hines,
> Waller and teddy Wilson.
>   His perfect touch and conception marked him as a jazz great whilst he
> still a young sideman, scuffling in the big bands led by Berigan and later
> Tommy Dorsey. As a member of the Eddie Condon mob (the last survivor,
> incidentally) he courted ill health through alcohol, but survived, clear
> head and dextrous hands intact, to live a gracious later life where he was
> able to choose to work only when and where he thought he would enjoy
> himself. Like Condon, he became one of the great New York wise-crackers
> any conversation with Bushkin tended towards the pungent.
>   He was inextricably associated with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. He'd
> accompanied Sinatra when the two worked for Tommy Dorsey in the Forties
> it was then that he wrote Sinatra's first hit "Oh, Look at Me Now". Bing
> Crosby insisted on having Bushkin as his accompanist and featured soloist
> when he toured the world during the Seventies.
>   From the Thirties onwards Bushkin's career is littered with landmarks.
> a 20-year-old in 1936 he, along with Berigan and Artie Shaw, recorded with
> the young Billie Holiday. In 1939 he played ravishing piano on Muggsy
> Spanier's "Relaxing at the Touro", ensuring that the record became an
> unforgettable classic. Then there was the recording of his song with
> in 1941. During the Fifties he led a classic jazz quartet with trumpeter
> Buck Clayton that played for years at The Embers in New York.
>   It was whilst at The Embers that the much-lauded pianist became a
> socialite, rising eventually to such financial independence that he was
> to settle in Santa Barbara in the Seventies and to follow a family
> in breeding horses.
>   He indeed fitted the rags to riches cliché. His "My dad had originally
> been a cellist in Russia. He came to America in 1909 and the story I
> got from him was 'You're lucky, you're a fortunate kid.'"
>   Bushkin was reputed to have been taught by the Polish pianist Leopold
> Godowski. In fact Bushkin was given his first lessons when he was 13 by
> girl in the apartment upstairs who was getting hers from the landlord's
> who was getting his from Godowski.
>   "I studied for three years, but I was a lousy student," said Bushkin. "I
> didn't practise enough. I had too many other interests. I played in the
> 90-pound basket ball team and I liked to fool around on the trumpet."
>   Bushkin added the trumpet to his studies when he was 13. He kept up the
> second instrument and was an effective soloist on it right into his later
> years.
>   His first professional job was at the Roseland Ballroom in Brooklyn,
> was, after the Savoy, New York's most famous dance hall. In 1935 he
> at the Famous Door, an early jazz bar.
>   "Not many people came in to The Famous Door, and we musicians were
> frightened of becoming snow-blind from the glare of empty tablecloths."
>   Later that year Bushkin joined the alcoholic Berigan in his big band.
> Berigan's father had been hired by his agent to travel with his son to
> him away from alcohol. Father and son drank each other under the table
> night. Bushkin shared an apartment with the trumpeter and took on hard
> living with a vengeance. In the summer of 1936 he left to join a small
> led by guitarist Eddie Condon and the clarinettist Joe Marsala. He played
> with Condon's bands until 1938 when he rejoined Berigan and stayed with
> trumpeter until the band expired in 1939.
>    The 14 revivalist recordings that cornettist Muggsy Spanier made in
> with his eight-piece band (Bushkin had joined him in September that year)
> are regarded as classics, and Bushkin's playing stands out in the ones on
> which he plays.
>    Bushkin had made records whilst he was with Berigan, but during his
> with Tommy Dorsey in 1940 he made over 100. Many of them featured Dorsey's
> new singer Frank Sinatra and his firebrand drummer Buddy Rich.
>    "Oh, Look At Me Now" went to the top of the Hit Parade in January 1941.
> One of Bushkin's jobs in the band was to rehearse Sinatra in all his
> since Sinatra didn't read music.
>   After four years as a trumpet player in the US Army Air Corps Bushkin
> worked in the New York studios and became an assistant to David Rose,
> composer of "Holiday For Strings". Bushkin next replaced Mel Powell as
> pianist in the Benny Goodman band from July to November 1946 but left
> several fallings out with Goodman. In 1947 he went with tenorist Bud
> to play in Rio De Janeiro and back in New York free-lanced on television
> radio.
>   Always on the fringes of Broadway, Bushkin wrote the music for and acted
> and played there from 1949 to 1950 in Garson Kanin's The Rat Race. In 1951
> he was reunited with Sinatra when he led the band for the singer at the
> Paramount Theatre in New York. He had begun the first of his long
> residencies at The Embers in 1950, taking a break in 1953 to come to
> England.
>   "I took a vacation for three weeks and got home five months later." That
> year also he joined Louis Armstrong's All Stars, with whom he recorded,
> returning then to The Embers. With Buck Clayton he entertained the
> and also made regular broadcasts from the club, some of them for the Armed
> Forces Network. His fame spread again and he was given recording contracts
> with the group and as a soloist by Columbia and Capitol. He had a hit
> with his composition for piano with orchestra, "Midnight Rhapsody".
>   Always fond of this country, Bushkin and his family lived in Britain
> during 1969 and 1970. He continued to work and compose songs until 1971
> he retired to Santa Barbara.
>   His retirement ended in 1975 when Bing Crosby called him out of it and
> tour that ensued included a season at the London Palladium. Other stays in
> European cities followed. Crosby left everything musical to Bushkin and,
> his own part of the performances, Bushkin sang and played several of his
> compositions including "There'll Be A Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin",
> t Been The Same Since The Beatles" and of course "Oh, Look At Me Now." In
> December 1976 the two played a short season on Broadway.
>   From then onwards Bushkin chose to work only where he could enjoy
> and this included the piano bars of New York including Michael's Pub, the
> St. Regis and Alec Wilder's old stamping ground, the Carlyle. He wrote
> of the music and played in a revue, "Swinging On A Star" and in later
> played with some of the younger jazz musicians such as cornettist Warren
> Vaché Jnr.
> Steve Voce
> Joe Bushkin, pianist, composer, trumpeter, born New York, 7 November 1916;
> married Francice Netcher (four daughters); died Santa Barbara 3 November
> 2004.
> .
> From today's 'The Independent'.
> The famous definition of a gentleman is "someone who owns an accordion but
> doesn't play it."
>   It didn't fit Pete Jolly who learned to play the accordion when he was
> three and became its most gifted jazz exponent. Acknowledging that most
> musicians disliked the instrument, Jolly recognised that it was his light,
> swinging style on piano that had made him famous throughout the world and
> the piano remained his main instrument.
>   Jolly made only one visit to Britain. He was flown here during the
> to appear on "This Is Your Life". The subject was a man who had been
> and spent time recuperating on the West Coast. During this period he'd
> apparently listened often to Jolly who was appearing at The Lighthouse, a
> legendary local jazz bar. Jolly was to play live on the programme.
> the Ministry of Labour had a ban on American musicians appearing in this
> country. The Musicians Union got wind of Jolly's visit and advised the
> Ministry, who then enforced the ban. Jolly appeared on the programme but
> only to mime to his own trio recording of "Younger than Springtime". The
> event was made the more futile by the fact that the subject of the
> was bemused and obviously had no idea of who Jolly was. Jolly had planned
> make the best of it and to stay in Britain for a few days, but his father
> died during the visit and he had to return to Los Angeles after the
> programme.
>   Jolly, who had an unusually good sense of rhythm - an invaluable asset
> a rhythm section player and soloist - led some of the best rhythm sections
> ever, often in conjunction with the drummer Shelly Manne. During his 50
> years in Los Angeles he accompanied an amazing list of jazz giants and pop
> singers. He recorded with, amongst others, Art Pepper, Gerry Mulligan,
> Baker, Mel Tormé, Marty Paich, Shorty Rogers, Red Norvo and Anita O'Day.
> led a jazz trio of the same musicians for most of that time, spending his
> days working as a studio musician in films and television.
>   Jolly's father, Peter Ceragioli, was a virtuoso accordionist, and he
> sure that his son would follow in his footsteps. For six years from 1939
> and Peter Jr. made the two hour train journey to New York City to study
> the famous teacher Joe Biviano. Afterwards the two would go to the
> Theatre to see the film and hear the top line big band, perhaps led by
> Goodman, Artie Shaw or Tommy Dorsey, that played live for the audience.
>   Billed as "The Boy Wonder Accordionist", Jolly appeared on CBS Network
> radio in 1940. The announcer had difficulty with his name  Ceragioli and
> presented him for the first time as "Pete Jolly". The name stuck when
> turned professional - he began working with local bands while still in
> junior high school.
>   The guitarist Howard Roberts, a good friend of Jolly's, had moved to Los
> Angeles in 1950 and he tried to persuade Jolly to follow him there. The
> offer of a job in the city from another guitarist, Barney Kessel,
> Jolly and he moved there in 1954, linking up almost immediately with the
> trumpeter Shorty Rogers and appearing on three of the classic big band
> albums that Rogers made that year. These were the first of innumerable
> recordings graced by Jolly's playing and Rogers also opened the doors to
> Hollywood studios. The pianist, who was to stay in Los Angeles for the
> of his life, was never again short of work.
>   Jolly's working trips abroad were rare, but he was lionised when he
> appeared with the Shorty Rogers West Coast Giants at the Nice Jazz
> in 1985.
> Steve Voce
> Pete Jolly (Peter A. Ceragioli) born New Haven Connecticut 5 June 1932
> Pasadena, 6 November 2004.

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