Bob Butters of the Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band

Robert Bruce “Bob” Butters trombonist for the Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band and other groups in the Ohio area passed away, he was 94. The following is an excerpt from his obituary as published in the Columbus Dispatch:

Bob was a superb trombone player, and music, especially New Orleans Dixieland style jazz, was a lifelong passion. He said he “was smitten by Tommy Dorsey and Jack Teagarden early on” in his life. At the young age of 16 Bob won the prestigious Tommy Dorsey Trophy in the Look Magazine 1946 national swing band contest at Carnegie Hall in New York City. While attending MIT in Boston, Bob formed a jazz band of his own that played college functions and Boston’s Savoy Café. As a Savoy house band member, Bob backed numerous jazz legends, including Wild Bill Davison, Henry “Red” Allen, Max Kaminsky and Omer Simeon. After moving to Ohio in 1951, Bob worked with Carl Halen’s Gin Bottle 7, Eddie Bayard’s Bourbon Street 5, Terry Waldo’s Gutbucket Syncopators, and Gene Mayl’s Dixieland Syncopators.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Bob has played trombone with the Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band in Cincinnati since 1966. He was a long time member of the popular local Columbus based North Side Jazz Band. He joined the Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society, which he served as president for 19 years. Even after retiring from the presidency, he remained an active COHJS board member. When the society began monthly open Hot Jazz Jams, Bob hardly ever missed a jam, playing for 3 hours at a stretch into his 90’s. At the jams, Bob was an excellent, encouraging and inspirational mentor to younger musicians wanting to learn how to play this early jazz music. Bob was also highly regarded by the many musicians throughout Ohio that he worked with over the years. Ragtime Rick Grafing of Toledo said of him, “Bob’s the Elder Statesman of early jazz in Ohio. He has such enthusiasm and an easygoing and fun manner. Everyone knows and respects Bob Butters. He’s a legendary player.” Bob will be missed by his children, grandchildren, friends and fellow musicians.

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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