[Dixielandjazz] Ever heard someone who sounded like Al Hirt?

starwaterlogo starwaterlogo at mpinet.net
Thu Sep 8 05:41:40 PDT 2005

From: "Robert S. Ringwald" <robert at ringwald.com>
To: "starwaterlogo" <starwaterlogo at mpinet.net>
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 2:51 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Ever heard someone who sounded like Al Hirt?

> > Anyone ever heard someone they thought sounded like Hirt?

> About the closest I have heard to Hirt is when the great trumpeter Jack
> Sheldon has sat in with us playing Dixieland.  Jack plays a bit more
> than Hirt but, if Hirt had gone Bee-Bop, I could imagine that he would
> similar to Jack.

Hey Bob.  I really believe Jack Sheldon's talent on the horn is largely
under-recognized. Even though he had a fairly high profile gig with Merv
Griffin (which as a kid is where I first heard of him) my recollection is he
did more wisecracking than playing. I was actually more familiar with his
voice from the "Grammar Rock" cartoons than his playing. It wasn't until
much later that I came to realize what a fantastic player he really is.

Not long ago I was sent some video of the Stan Kenton Orchestra from the
50's with Jack playing the jazz chair.  Great stuff. Also have him at a
couple of live things, one of which is a tribute to a guy named Irving
Bush - it's a little fuzzy to me exactly who Irving Bush is, and another at
Jack's own 71st B-day celebration. He's playing great in both.

I was also sent several episodes of Jack's short-lived TV series Run Buddy,
Run. Interesting to see, but not a big surprise why the series wasn't around

> Also, imagine Doc Severnson playing Dixieland.  I know, it is hard to
> imagine but, if he did, he would certainly have as much technique as Hirt.

Sure, Doc does Dixie. Doc does pretty much everything. I audio taped him off
the tv many moons ago when I was a kid playing with Pete Fountain on Carson
and later acquired video of those same performances.  My assessment is that
his and Hirt's style are very different. They both were known for the
ability to move around the horn, but it's just, well, different.

Something that was a big surprise to me is that once upon a time Doc was an
absolutely smokin' Be-bop player.  I was sent video of him playing with a
guitarist named Mike Bryan in the late 50's or early 60's. Doc has sometimes
been accused of playing "pre-programmed" jazz, which may be true in some
instances, but I sincerely doubt these were rote memorized solos. That would
be a lot of memorizing for a one-shot gig.  Plus, his overall sound just
sounds like he's doing improv. Very different kind of playing than I was
used to hearing him do.

This was also back in his short hair, suit and tie days, a big difference
from his later, more flamboyant look.

I have a collection of operettas from the 50's when Anna Moffo was in her
heyday, and in the extensive booklet that's included, in one of the pics you
can see a still unknown young Doc in the orchestra.

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