[Dixielandjazz] Oldest Jazz Bands still playing

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 22 18:44:55 PDT 2009

On Mar 22, 2009, at 8:09 PM, Marek Boym wrote:

>> Steve Barbone Wrote:

>> I'm with you, Ed, The Bobcats seem to be the oldest at 75, and still
>> swinging.
> But there's been a long break.  And even in the nineteen fifties, the
> Bobcats had only sporadic reunions rather than playing continuously.


>> Steve also wrote:

>> There is also the Salty Dogs Jazz Band, founded in 1947 at Purdue
>> University, which is still in playing today. Some personnel have  
>> changed,
>> however drummer Wayne Jones has been with them since the beginning,  
>> pianist
>> John Cooper has been there about 50 years, Tubist Mike Walbridge  
>> about 51
>> years, Cornetist Lew Green for about 45 years, Banjoist Jack Kunci  
>> about 42
>> years, trombonist Tom Bartlett about 42 years. Clarinetist Kim  
>> Cusack often
>> plays with them, but I am not sure when he first did so.
> Again, not quite a continuously working band.

What do you mean by "not quite? I think they have been continuously  
working, in various forms with various members as did Alex Henderson  
in the "All Music Guide".  See below quote: (excerpted)

"One of the Midwestern bands that came out of that Dixieland revival  
movement was the Original Salty Dogs, which was formed at Purdue  
University in West Lafayette, IN, in 1947" . . . Being from Indiana,  
the band often took advantage of the jazz scene in nearby Chicago  
(which is about 125 miles from West Lafayette) in the ''50s, ''60s,  
and ''70s. . . Over the years, the Original Salty Dogs have had  
different lineups; the ''60s lineup included Lew Green on cornet, Jim  
Snyder on trombone, Kim Cusack on clarinet and alto saxophone, John  
Cooper on acoustic piano, Bob Sundstrom on banjo, Mike Waldbridge on  
tuba, and Wayne Jones on drums. Subsequently, Jack Kuncl replaced  
Sundstrom, and Tom Barlett took over the trombone chair when Snyder  
retired from the band. In 2001, Delmark reissued New Orleans Shuffle  
on CD and added six bonus tracks (all of them from a 1969 gig at  
Sloppy Joe''s in Chicago). And, in 2002, the Original Salty Dogs  
celebrated their 55th anniversary. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide"

The below You Tube says they were celebrating their 60th Anniversary  
in 2007.


If you mean a band must work 150 gigs a year to be"continuously  
working, then the Jim Cullum jazz Band is probably the oldest out  
there and Barbone Street, while well behind, has had about 15 years of  
it so far. We are cutting back a bit in 2009 because we are getting  
old and not anxious to play more than 100 or so.  I'm not sure how  
many other Dixieland Bands have been working that many gigs a year  
recently in the USA.

Steve Barbone

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