April 2024

On the Cover


Bob Greene: Man on a (Morton) Mission

Hal Smith: Dear Readers, this month Jeff and I will explore the music of the great jazz pianist Bob Greene. We start with the first recording of his that I heard… In the mid-1960s, the old Jazzologist magazine published a rave review of an album by the St. Peter Street

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Celebrating the Centennial Jazz of 1924

1924 found America deep in the Jazz Age with speakeasies, bootleggers, and hot jazz as the soundtrack. Calvin Coolidge was president (winning re-election in November), the business of America was business, and times were good for many Americans, at least those who did not have the misfortune of being poor.

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Humphrey Lyttelton: Profiles in Jazz

In music history, it ranked with Igor Stravinsky’s debut of The Rite Of Spring in 1913 and Bob Dylan “going electric” at the 1965 Newport Blues Festival. In both of those cases, longtime fans were horrified by their idols changing their musical direction. The same thing happened to trumpeter Humphrey

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Quarter Notes

From the 35th San Diego Jazz Party

We attended the 35th Anniversary of the San Diego Jazz Party this past February and with beautiful weather at last! The Hilton Del Mar is the site of this event and the accommodations, staff, food service and general atmosphere enhance the experience at this venue. The twenty musicians invited included

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Recording Pioneers

Frank and John: The Musical Banta Brothers

In the world of 19th century theater, there were many siblings who made their success by performing together. As the phonograph became a legitimate medium of entertainment and employment, some siblings jumped in together. It was rare, especially in the acoustic era (before 1925) for more than one sibling to

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Jazz Birthday

Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton was born April 20, 1908, in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1916. During the 1920s, while still a teenager, Hampton took xylophone lessons from Jimmy Bertrand and began to play drums. Lionel Hampton began his career playing drums for the Chicago Defender

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Jazz Jottings

Jazz Jottings April 2024

Charlie Barnet Tells All Growing up in the heydays of the Big Bands, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the leaders of the better-known bands. One of my hobbies as a teenager was collecting autographed photos of the popular bandleaders of the 1940s. The scrapbook of some

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Blowing Off The Dust

(Mis)Remembering the 1974 Joplin Fest

As I blow the dust off of the fifty-year-old files of Joplin Ragtime Festival documents, it isn’t just the dust causing my eyes to tear. Holding those old pieces of paper and going through them one by one, brings back so many memories of a very magical time for me

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My Inspirations

“The Swamp of Jazz”

Full disclosure, kind readers: during my public school years I was an unalloyedly precocious rapscallion with a big sense of humor (to myself, anyhow), a bigger attitude, and an unassailably huge mouth…(go ahead, snicker and take your aside: “so, what’s changed?”). My pediatric dentist, with either a sense of pity

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Jazz Travels

A Brief Stop in NOLA

Prior to the Templeton Ragtime Festival in late February, I spent a few days in New Orleans. As my regular readers know, when I travel that far or farther to a music festival I try to find additional activities to enhance the trip. It was too early in the season

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Static From My Attic

The Miracle of Competence

Of all that which I consider worthy, perhaps the most remarkable is when someone does exactly what they promise they’re going to do. I weep with gratitude at every demonstration of competence and fulfillment of obligation. That experience grows increasingly rare. With a mobile telephone in everyone’s hand, the expectation

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It Was a Gas!

The Frowning Festival

The Frowning Festival Einsiedeln, Switzerland is a charming, alpine village near Zurich and is the oldest and most important place of pilgrimage in Switzerland. NGJB performed there in 2004 as part of a Jazz-Blues-Rock Festival. We were accompanied by about two dozen fans from the US as part of a

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Steve Pistorius Southern Syncopators at French Quarter Festival
Festival Roundup

The Festival Roundup April 2024

JAZZ PENSACOLA JAZZFEST (Pensacola, FL) – April 6-7 The 41st Annual Pensacola JazzFest will be April 6-7, 2024, at Seville Square in historic downtown Pensacola. The schedule and headliners will be announced soon. As always, JazzFest is a free and celebrates America’s unique musical art form, jazz. The event is

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Arthur Owen Marshall
Ragtime Vignettes 

Arthur Marshall’s Kinklets

Independent of Scott Joplin, Arthur Marshall (pictured) wrote a small collection of pieces every bit as graceful and dignified as those by other Classic Ragtime pioneers. Marshall’s aptitude for writing warm sonorities and pleasing melodies is well-displayed in his first published solo composition Kinklets (1906). It is through-composed (ABCD form),

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News and More

‘Downsizing’ Duke Ellington in After Midnight

When Paper Mill Playhouse, the State Theater of New Jersey, announced their 2023-2024 season, the production I was most looking forward to was the musical revue After Midnight, which I’d loved in its original Broadway run a decade earlier (as well as in its still-earlier form, originally titled Cotton Club

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Wham Re-Bop-Boom-Bam: The Swing Jazz of Eddie Durham

Arranging is an underrated element in jazz and arrangers have not been given the credit they deserve. Arranging has almost always been considered piecework, paid at so much per arrangement. Bandleaders (and agents and performers) often took credit for tunes—and arrangements. And, except for staff writers working up stock arrangements

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Phonograph Society to Crack Down on ‘Nostalgia Newbies’

The International Society of Antique Phonograph Enthusiasts (ISAPE) has issued new guidelines for playing records on vintage machines. Society chair Dr. Marta Meeling, PhD, DDS, issued a directive (effective April 1st, 2024) sanctioning collectors who ignorantly mismatch media (i.e., 78 RPM records) and playback devices (i.e., phonographs). The directive states,

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Letters April 2024

You Call That a Monitor? Here’s a Monitor!  To the Editor: Thanks for your good works. On large monitors: I am using the 55″ 1080P flat panel in our living room as a monitor. 1080P flat panels are cheap as they are now obsolescent with 4K flat panels now being

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Barnhart wish we were twins

Jeff Barnhart & Spats Langham • We Wish We Were Twins

There are some albums which are done a terrible disservice by either not getting the press nor the reviews they deserve. Such is the case with this album, and it is absolutely scandalous. I’ll explain why. Compact discs featuring mostly pre-1930 songs are ten a penny since the invention of

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Darden Purcell • Love’s Got Me in a Lazy Mood

Work has had me on the road a lot lately, so that new in-car MP3 player has been a lot of use. (Promoters, take note: please remember to send MP3s too, now my motor is CD playerless.) Some days the only thing between me and vehicular homicide is a rage-mitigating

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Betty Bryant • Lotta Livin’

With the UK state pension now standing at 68 for people born in 1987—and likely to rise further, given our shambles of an economy and the absolute shower running it—I’m becoming worried that I may be working into my seventies. Betty Bryant had no such concerns, it seems: the veteran

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Inspiring Elvis: The Music Behind the King of Rock and Roll

Over the past years, I have seen it claimed quite often, sometimes with a tinge of resentment by black speakers, that Elvis Presley co-opted the work and style of many black artists, most often without acknowledgement, and profited handsomely from such appropriation. This collection—some 25 tracks laid down by a

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Dan Barrett, Danny Tobias, and Jacob Zimmerman

Monterey by the Bay: The Bash Was a Smash!

NASA hasn’t perfected the robot that would be the ideal reviewer for a jazz festival like the Jazz Bash by the Bay in Monterey, California, that happened February 29 – March 3, 2024. It would have multiple heads, each equipped with audio and video recording equipment as well as the

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The Syncopated Bookshelf

Big Joe Turner: Feel So Fine A Bio-Discography

Big Joe Turner: Feel So Fine, Derek Coller’s exhaustive bio/discography of the legendary alumnus of Kansas City’s colorful past has been recently published to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Big Joe Turner: Feel So Fine is a massive study of the “original blues brother, a true legend

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Jelly Roll Blues: Censored Songs & Hidden Histories

Sometimes, those of us interested in music of the late 19th or early 20th century feel fortunate at the number of recordings available for us to hear. Other times, it’s hard to avoid the depressing notion that there are major gaps in the historical record. We know that only a

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The Final Chorus

Festival promotor Laurie Whitlock has died

The Jazz world has lost a lifelong contributor to the celebration and preservation of Jazz. Laurie Whitlock spent many long hours volunteering with the most popular Jazz festivals of the time: Sacramento Dixieland Jazz festival, Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Los Angeles Classic Jazz festival. Her last role was as Festival Coordinator

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Seatle Saxophonist Bill Ramsay has died at 95

Well known Seattle saxophonist Bill Ramsay died on  March 3rd, he was 95. He was a founding member of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in 1995 after leading his own big band in the 1980s. In a career starting in the 60s he was a member of the big bands

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Kerry "Fatman" Hunter

Kerry “Fatman” Hunter killed in hit and run

Prominent New Orleans drummer Kerry “Fatman” Hunter was killed by a drunk driver while walking near the corner of Claiborne and Elysian Fields on Mardi Gras night. He was only 53. He shared a Grammy in the Best Regional Roots Music category with the New Orleans Nightcrawlers in 2021 and

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Steve Lawrence, of Steve & Eydie, has died at 88

Steve Lawrence, of Steve & Eydie, has died at 88. The son of a Jewish cantor his own professional singing career began when we was 15 and won a spot on  Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts on his third attempt. He was signed to King Records while still in High School

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Table of Contents


Jazz Birthday of the Month: Lionel Hampton, illustration by Joe Busam

Static from my Attic, by Andy Senior

Final Chorus, compiled by Joe Bebco

Jazz Jottings: Charlie Barnet Tells All, by Lew Shaw

My Inspirations: “The Swamp of Jazz”, by Jeff Barnhart

Ragtime Vignettes: Kinklets, by Brandon Byrne

Jazz Travels: A Brief Stop in NOLA, by Bill Hoffman

Frank and John: The Musical Banta Brothers, by Ramona Baker

The Club Hangover Story, by Dave Radlauer

Rudiments of Ragtime: Installment 15: Fats Waller, by Larry Melton

Quarter Notes: Plays Well With Others, by Shelly Gallichio

Festival Roundup, compiled by Joe Bebco

Profiles in Jazz: Humphrey Lyttelton, by Scott Yanow

Blowing off the Dust: (Mis)Remembering the 1974 Fest, by Larry Melton

Readers’ Letters

Ain’t Cha Got Music: Bob Greene, by Jeff Barnhart & Hal Smith

It Was a Gas: Sidelights of 50 Years with NGJB, by Phil Crumley


Wham Re-Bop-Boom-Bam film review by Steve Provizer

Big Joe Turner: Feel So Fine by Derek Coller, Book Review by Trevor Bannister

Doyle’s Discs, CD reviews by Dave Doyle

Jelly Roll Blues by Elijah Wald, book review by Steve Provizer

As Long as They Can Blow, book review by Russ Tarby

Inspiring Elvis, CD Review by Bert Thompson

We Wish We Were Twins, CD Review by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

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