[Dixielandjazz] Gene Little birthday

Don Ingle cornet at 1010internet.com
Sun Oct 3 22:45:51 PDT 2010

Call this an ode to the memory of Gene Estes.
Gene and I shared the music and band classes at both jr. and sr. North 
Hollywood High. We had formed a  jazz band in high school, with pianist 
"Curly" Williams. Oh, that's right, you know him better as John Willams. 
Yes -- THAT John Williams.
Gene and I were both born in 1931,  He in the Texas Panhandle and me in 
Chicago, but I am older by a half year...and feel every bit of it in the 
Sadly Gene is gone and with his passing we lost not only a great 
drumjmer but a wonderful and tasty vibrophonist.
Our high school band was made up of all musicians' sons. John's dad a 
percussion in the studios but also the drummer with the old Raymond 
Scott quintet .
A photo of the band in my scrapbook shows five teenagers who managed to 
play pretty good for our age. Also in the band was Perry Botkin, Jr., 
son of Crosby's guitarist and a film and recording composer and 
arranger, bassist Mel Pollan - his dad was a symphony bassist and Mel 
was with Les Brown for a couple decades. Missing from the photo was John 
Bambridge, who put in years with the Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show with 
Johnny Carson.
I spend some wonderful  time at the Jazz Fest in both L.A. and San Diego 
with Gene a few years before he died. We has some similar set breaks and 
wandered about to hear the other bands, including Bob Ringwald's Great 
Pacific Jazz Band with John Bambridge playing as a sub. John knocked me 
out with the "Portait of Eddie" arrangement Bob had.
Another classmate who did not work with us at the time but later became 
an outstanding guitarist was Matty Matlock's son Bud. Had kept in touch 
with him, and was shocked when he died auddenly of an aneurism. He was a 
speed walking racer and had won medals in it and was in great health and 
shape. So it was also a deeply felt loss. I studied arranging with his 
dad and we has been family friends for years.
Well,  agewise, I have lasted this long - come February 10 I hit the big 
80. All too often I get news of friends and fellow players that have 
moved on to a higher rehearsal hall. But so far, so good.
But on this, Gene Estes' birthday, I wanted to salute an old friend's 
memory, and to tell all who read this that it was a loss to those that 
cherish good timing and taste from a drummer. Gene was the best of the 
breed and I miss him still.
Don Ingle

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