Andy Senior

Andy Senior is the Publisher of The Syncopated Times and on occasion he still gets out a Radiola! podcast for our listening pleasure.
Harry Reser

Harry Reser

Harry Reser was born Harrison Franklin Reser on January 17, 1896, in Piqua, Ohio. Harry, a first cousin of the airplane-inventing Wright Brothers, demonstrated remarkable

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Irving Fazola

Irving Fazola

Irving Henry Prestopnik (Irving Fazola) was born in New Orleans on December 10, 1912. He started on piano, but as he switched to reed instruments—first

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On the Highwire

On the Highwire

I’ve never considered myself one for taking risks. I was always that kid whose knees buckled at the notion of climbing to the highest diving

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Buck Clayton

Buck Clayton

Wilbur Dorsey “Buck” Clayton was born November 12, 1911, in Parsons, Kansas. Buck learned piano at an early age, then studied trumpet with his father

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Max Morath by Joe Busam

Max Morath

We are delighted to extend birthday greetings to ragtime scholar, polymath, and entertainer Max Morath, who turns 95 on October 1st. Max was born on

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Raymond Scott by Joe Busam

Raymond Scott

Harry Warnow, known to us as Raymond Scott, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 10, 1908. Warnow grew up with parallel interests in

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Helen Kane by Joe Busam

Helen Kane

Helen Kane was born Helen Claire Schroeder in New York City on August 4, 1904. Her first stage experience was in school theatricals, but by

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Seger Ellis

Seger Ellis

Seger Pillot Ellis was born July 4, 1904, in Houston, Texas. As a teenager, Seger much admired the local pianists in the city, Jack Sharpe,

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Don Murray

Don Murray

Don Murray was born in Joliet, Illinois, on June 7, 1904, and attended high school in Chicago. In his teens he earned a reputation as

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Memento Mori

Memento Mori

By the time you hold this paper in your hand, I will have achieved the grim distinction of being exactly the same age New Yorker

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Jimmie Noone by Joe Busam

Jimmie Noone

Jimmie Noone was born April 23, 1895, in Cut Off, Louisiana. Noone started playing clarinet after his family moved to New Orleans in 1910. By

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Felix the Cat Gin 1926

Problem Attic

I’ve been putting off writing this column until the last minute—almost until I am physically unable to write it. (That would be an excellent method

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Jean Goldkette by Joe Busam

Jean Goldkette

Jean Goldkette’s date and place of birth remain a matter of conjecture. According to Wikipedia, he was born March 18, 1893, though May 18 of

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Hudson Lake c1928

A Toast to Bix

I’m going to veer wildly off-format here in order to fulfill a promise I made in this column last month. Last year, a subscriber named

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Lil Hardin Armstrong

Lil Hardin Armstrong

Lillian Hardin was born February 3, 1898, in Memphis, Tennessee. Lillian received piano tutelage first from her third-grade teacher, eventually matriculating at a more formal

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Lew Shaw

Lew Shaw

This month we celebrate one of our own: Lew Shaw, who turns 95 on January 14, and whose latest installment of Jazz Jottings may be

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Jabbo Smith

Jabbo Smith

Jabbo Smith was born Cladys Smith in Pembroke, Georgia, on December 24, 1908. After the death of his father, his mother found it increasingly difficult

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Joe Sullivan Piano

Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan was born Joseph Michael O’Sullivan in Chicago on November 4, 1906. The last of nine children, Joe demonstrated serious musical ability at an

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Eddie Lang by Joe Busam

Eddie Lang

Eddie Lang was born Salvatore Massaro in Philadelphia on October 25, 1902. His personal and musical history is inextricably linked with that of Joe Venuti,

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Pony Express Air Mail

Nor Gloom of Night

When I published my first issue of The Syncopated Times, I worked to compensate for the variables and uncertainties involved in getting started. Not the

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Vaughn De Leath

Vaughn De Leath

Vaughn De Leath was born Leonore Vonderlieth in Mount Pulaski, Illinois, on September 26, 1894. At age 12, Leonore relocated to Los Angeles with her

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Abe Lyman

Abe Lyman

Abe Lyman was born Abraham Simon on August 4, 1897, in Chicago, Illinois. He and his brother Mike changed their last name to Lyman because

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Noble Sissle

Noble Sissle

Noble Sissle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 10, 1889. While still a teenager, he toured in vaudeville in the Midwest with a male

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Mad renewal card

Interesting Times, 2.0

Each month, it seems, represents a newer normal. Normal wants to update itself relentlessly, much like my Windows operating system—usually at no small inconvenience and

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Punch Miller

Punch Miller

Ernest “Punch” Miller was born in Raceland, Louisiana, on June 10, 1894. Since his twin sister was named Ernestine Judy, it was natural that he

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Sidney Bechet

Sidney Bechet

Sidney Joseph Bechet was born in New Orleans on May 14, 1897. Sidney grew up in a middle-class Creole household, and learned several musical instruments

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Wynton at Lionel Hampton Funeral

In Memoriam

In the second month of our siege against an implacable and impersonal enemy, I am a bundle of conflicting and untidy emotions. It really is

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Zez Confrey by Joe Busam

Zez Confrey

Edward Elzear “Zez” Confrey was born in Peru, Illinois, on April 3, 1895. Zez grew up in a musical household in which his older brother,

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Stuck Home Stomp

Stuck Home Stomp

There is no point in attempting my usual meandering approach to the topic that preoccupies all of us at the moment. Just as unnecessary travel

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Irving Kaufman

Irving Kaufman

Irving Kaufman was born on February 8, 1890, in Syracuse, New York. At an early age he entered vaudeville with his brothers Philip and Jack.

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RADIOLA 1920s and 1930s clean radiola365

Words Fail Us

Last December, after wrapping up the layout of my January issue and launching it into the world, I was privileged to revisit what had been

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Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was born Sofya Kalish on January 13, 1886, in what is now Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine. She arrived with her family in Boston in

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Kat Edmondson Michael Katsobashvili

I’m Not Worthy! (Am I?)

I was deeply moved—and somewhat embarrassed—to read Larry Melton’s encomium for The Syncopated Times (and its hapless publisher). I do acknowledge that the survival of

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Brunswick Model 102 portable

Portable Joy

Sometimes I forget to breathe. That’s not literally so, but it might as well be. In editing and publishing The Syncopated Times for four years

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Bennie Moten by Joe Busam

Bennie Moten

Benjamin “Bennie” Moten was born on November 13, 1894. Moten grew up in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri’s dance hall district, and developed a

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