[Dixielandjazz] Federal Jazz Commission and DC recollections

Stan McDonald stanmm at comcast.net
Sun Jul 6 04:31:41 PDT 2008

I've been out of touch with the DC scene for a few decades now, but I thought that some guys I played with in DC in 1960 -- when I was at the Navy School of Music in Anacostia -- were going by the name of FJC; but I guess they came along later. The DC group used to play on a mule-drawn barge on a canal near DC.  I fondly remember cornet player, Tony Hagert; trombonist, Walter "Slide" Harris; drummer, Beale Riddle; and sitting in at the Charles Hotel, the Mayfair, or Blues Alley (?) with the likes of Danny Barker, Stuff Smith, Willie the Lion, Wild Bill Whelan, and a fine pianist, Johnny Eaton, who used to play in Georgetown. I know that Beale passed away a long time ago. He used to put me up in his house on week-ends.  Fred Wahler is also gone, but his wife, Anna,came to hear my band around 1991 at PA jazz society performance -- with Natalie Lamb. Alas, the memories are fading and it's a sign of my age that I'm dabbling in nostalgia, but I would like to hear from any of you who remember those inspiring times. Who was the fine trumpet player in the wheelchair at the Charles Hotel? And the superb pianist from DC (?) that I used to sit in with at Waikiki when I was sent to Hawaii from the Navy School to play solo clarinet with the 25th Infantry Division Band. I think his name was Booker Coleman. Anyway, and despite the ravages of the years, I've been doing fairly well with the band I formed in 1981 after leaving the New Black Eagles: www.bluehorizonjazzband.com

It's hard to resist a closing commentary on Woody Allen, given all the back and forth about his playing on DJML lately. Suffice to say, he reminds me a bit of Mezz Mezzrow (with whom I once played in Paris): a true devotee of the music, to which I believe everyone is entitled to make whatever contribution they feel they can.  Mezz did more than his part. The DJML will surely keep them honest, which is all that really matters. For Woody to play an Albert System clarinet and to have named his daughter "Bechet" seems good enough for me. He only needs to come and hear me sometime.

Stan McDonald

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list