Dust Bowl To Disney: The Lost Memoir of Danny Alguire

Dust Bowl To Disney is a fine book. It’s an autobiography by traditional jazz cornetist Danny Alguire. When my long-time friend and colleague Hal Smith approached me about reviewing it, I’ll confess I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I might have been; a book by the mild-mannered Danny Alguire didn’t seem like the kind of tome that would be a thriller-diller. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it the next The Hunt for Red October, but Dust Bowl To Disney proved to be quite an interesting and enjoyable read! In fact, once I started it, I found myself turning pages late into the night, and between sets at gigs. Not only does the book give one a clear—even deep—idea of what this man Danny Alguire was really like, but it offers an excellent picture of what the United States’ middle class was like in the 1930s through the ’60s. Like Hal, I discovered Alguire’s assured ensemble lead playing and direct, to-the-point soloing while I was still in high school. Not much later (again, like Hal) I heard Alguire in person when the Firehouse Five Plus Two performed at nearby Disneyland in Anaheim, California. My connection with Hal, Alguire, and the FH5+2 continued up through the time the band’s soprano saxophonist George Probert invited several of the band’s young disciples to sit in with the band at their farewell performance at the Anaheim Convention Center in 1971. George was somet
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Dan Barrett is a professional trombonist/ cornetist, arranger, and composer. He enjoys performing in admittedly old-fashioned jazz styles. He has recorded for Concord Records, Arbors Records, and his own Blue Swing Recordings label, among many other labels. Dan fell in love with jazz in high school, and learned to play from much older musicians from New Orleans, who had settled in the Los Angeles area. He has played at Carnegie Hall five times, and was featured in the last bands led by Swing Era icons Benny Goodman and Buck Clayton. Another highlight of Dan’s musical life—so far—was being a member of Lueder Ohlwein’s Sunset Music Company. Write to Dan at: www.DanBarrettMusic.com.

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