November 2023

On the Cover


Suggested Albums for 10 Pre-1945 Jazz Pianists

While the jazz piano originally developed independently of the earliest jazz groups (I have yet to see a piano utilized in a marching brass band), and it has a rich legacy in American music that predated jazz, it has of course been a major part of jazz since close to

Read More »

Louis Jordan: Profiles in Jazz

Louis Jordan is today remembered for his many popular recordings with his Tympany Five. Considered a transitional figure between swing and rhythm & blues, during his prime years Jordan was a major musical force as a singer, alto-saxophonist, and an entertainer. He created rollicking music and developed the ability to

Read More »

Lou Busch, Joe “Fingers” Carr, and the Honky Tonk Craze

Jeff Barnhart: Faithful readers, due to a very busy travel and performance schedule, Hal Smith indicated he’d need to relinquish his usual seat at our jazz forensics lab and looks forward to returning next month. I’m using this opportunity to invite my old friend pianist Bill “Perfessor Bill” Edwards to

Read More »

Bude Jazz Festival 2023: Still Going Strong After 34 Years!

That this festival even happens could be the most striking fact about it. Located more than five hours’ drive from London, and an hour from the nearest railway station or airport. Bude is a small town in Cornwall with a population of less than ten thousand. Yet this was the

Read More »

The Saga of Navy Band 22

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 82 years ago, December 7, 1941 became “a date that will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the U.S. Congress and the country the following day. With so many tragic stories that stemmed from that horrendous attack, the saga of Navy

Read More »

Heart Stopping Moments for Musicians

Probably most musicians, at one time or another, experience a “heart-stopping moment” or predicament. Here are some I have witnessed—or experienced myself. A tuba player waited in vain at the airport for his instrument to be brought to him after the plane landed. With a pounding heart, he inquired after

Read More »


Recording Pioneers

When the Phonograph Met Moving Pictures

In the 1890s, many new technologies were being developed at the same time, and it’s no surprise that many of these fledgling fields would occasionally intersect. In the mid-late 1890s, several phonograph workers decided to experiment in the field of film, which had only just arrived to the United States

Read More »
Blowing Off The Dust

Percy Franks and Jess Williams

It has been great fun to recall old memories of the first 1974 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia. This month I remember two gentlemen from the original ragtime era. Percy Franks 1893-1976 Billed as “The Last of the Ragtime Kids,” Percy Franks came to the festival from his home

Read More »
My Inspirations

If at the Bar, Put a Tip in My Jar

In a past column (TST, September 2022) I mentioned a pub I played in with the Hot Cat Jazz Band called the Griswold Inn. It opened on July 4, 1776 in Essex, CT and has been open ever since—with only nine owners to date! I’ll keep coming back to this

Read More »
Quarter Notes

Music Clubs & Positive Acts of Congress

The 17th Street Music Club in Tucson started with an idea that was developed 15 years ago, when the former 17th Street Market and World Music Store opened its doors to local musicians and songwriters by creating a performance space and hosting all types of music events. The World Music

Read More »
Jazz Travels

From the 2023 Central PA Ragtime Festival

Since its beginning in 2009, the Central Pennsylvania Ragtime and American Music Festival has grown in stature, if not in size. Originally held in early summer, the event has moved to September (mercifully!) in Orbisonia and Rockhill Furnace, two adjoining small towns in southern Huntingdon County. Rockhill is the home

Read More »
Static From My Attic

Bitter is Thy Cup? Cheer Up!

As happens every year in this latitude, Autumn is a time of less sunlight and more shadow, and a chilliness that reminds us to bring the plants in from outdoors. We experimented this year with growing several varieties of hot peppers, some of which are very spicy indeed. I cannot

Read More »
Glenn Crytzer
Jazz Jottings

Jazz Jottings November 2023

In print jazz jottings led with: The Saga of Navy Band 22 The Jazzinstitut Darmstadt is a cultural institution of the City of Sciences Darmstadt in Germany that houses Europe’s largest public jazz archive. The Institute’s collection includes books, periodicals, recordings, photos, and extensive information about the history and current developments

Read More »
Festival Roundup

The Festival Roundup November 2023

34th annual ARIZONA CLASSIC JAZZ FESTIVAL (Chandler, AZ) – Nov. 2-5 Scheduled Guests: Howard Alden, guitar, Banjo Pieter Meijers, reeds, Brass Nickels Jazz Band, Cheryl’s Vintage Jazz with special guests, Dan Levinson, Katie Cavera, Queen City Jazz Band, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, St. Louis Stompers Classic Jazz

Read More »
Ragtime Vignettes 

David Thomas Roberts • Poplarville

David Thomas Roberts’ peripatetic nocturnal contemplation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the late 1970’s inspired some of his most touching works, including Poplarville (1979). The rising melodic phrase in measures 9-11 of the A section is one of the most poignant passages in Roberts’ entire oeuvre. Roberts has always

Read More »
Hoagy Carmichael by Joe Busam
Jazz Birthday

Hoagy Carmichael

Hoagy Carmichael was born Howard Hoagland Carmichael on November 22, 1899, in Bloomington, Indiana. Carmichael had piano and singing lessons from his mother, but was mostly self-taught. His parents wanted him to have a more stable career than music, so he attended Indiana University, graduating in 1925 and earning a

Read More »
Rudiments of Ragtime

Rudiments of Ragtime Installment 10: The Red Back Book

Since early Classic ragtime seemed to evolve from the cakewalk, dance, and march music around 1900 it was natural for it to become an instrumental genre beyond basic piano scores. Small ensemble groups took up syncopation soon after the music became popular. John Stark moved to St. Louis in about

Read More »
It Wasn't Just The Music

U.S.S.R – Memorable Events

U.S.S.R – Memorable Events NGJB met the Leningrad Dixieland in 1987 at the Sacramento Jubilee and they helped immensely to arrange our tour of the USSR in 1989—a great band and wonderful bunch of guys. We were actually hired by the Soviet govt., had a written contact with them, and

Read More »

News and More

Young Musician Matt Barcus Returns to the Central Coast

Our Basin Street Regulars organization has five mission statements. Two of those statements address the future of Traditional Jazz music: 1. To provide young musicians of high school and college age and other beginners with the opportunity to play along with older and more experienced musicians. 2. To provide musical

Read More »
Norman Vickers Jazz Room

Remembering Dr. F. Norman Vickers 1931- 2023

Two weeks ago in a conversation about the blues, I pulled up our profile of Norman Vickers to illustrate his story of watching a forgotten Blind Willie McTell playing 1950s drive-ins in Atlanta before the ’60s folk revival would give the blues legend’s career a second wind. I said it

Read More »

Ribbon Cutting Marks Opening for Louis Armstrong Center

Across the street from where Lucille Armstrong bought a home for her traveling husband Louis Daniel Armstrong is a 14,000 square-foot building, the “largest archive for an African-American musician.” The new center will present music, fun, and education to preserve Armstrong’s legacy curated by pianist Jason Moran as the “Here

Read More »



Hot Town Tuba Skinny CD Cover

Tuba Skinny • Hot Town

After all this time, Syncopated Times readers ought to be familiar with Tuba Skinny; the band has been the subject of many articles and reviews in this publication. Founded as a street band in 2008 in New Orleans, Tuba Skinny has released thirteen albums under its name plus one accompanying

Read More »
The New Wonders album cover

The New Wonders

You can bet an album review is going to be positive when, by the time you read it, I’ve already learned to play parts of it on the piano. Such is the case with The New Wonders, the eponymous new record by Mike Davis’s NYC septet. “Reaching for Someone (And

Read More »

Zingology • On the Boulevard

Ithaca, N.Y. painter Brian Keeler is one of the most accomplished visual artists in Upstate New York. He’s also a gifted guitarist and an accomplished jitterbugger who has blended those two musical passions into a buoyant dance band. His swingin’ septet, Zingology, has issued its second compact disc, this one

Read More »


Christmas Tracks 2023

River Raisin Ragtime Revue A Ragtime Christmas

River Raisin Ragtime Revue • A Ragtime Christmas

Founded in 2002, the River Rasin Ragtime Revue is one of the premier ragtime ensembles in the country. They have grown support in their local Michigan community with exciting stage productions featuring dancers and period costumes while honoring golden era figures like Bert Williams and contemporary ragtimers like Reginald Robinson.

Read More »
George Gee Swing Orchestra • Winter Wonderland

George Gee Swing Orchestra • Winter Wonderland

The George Gee Swing Orchestra is the house band at Swing 46, a long-running nightclub in Times Square. Gee has been leading big bands since he was in college in 1979, making him older than I would have expected, and at Swing 46 since the early 2000s. The band specializes

Read More »

Tea for 20’s • Reviens​-​moi à temps pour No​ë​l

How’s your French? Tea for 20’s is a traditional jazz band playing for swing dancers in Montreal. While their last full length album was a set of English language jazz standards their new Christmas record explores French Christmas songs that will be unfamiliar to most readers. It made for a

Read More »

Jeudi • Winter Was Warm

A chanteuse from LA who performs under a single name, Jeudi likes to dig deep for vocal gems of the ’30s to ’50s. Her album of Christmas and winter-themed material doesn’t disappoint. The only tracks you are likely to recognize are the final two of 14: “I’ve Got My Love

Read More »

Down for the Count • Swing into Christmas

I reviewed a very special album from the UK-based Down for the Count a few months ago. They are a jazz collective, something like James Reese Europe’s Clef Club, with 20 musicians listed on the website. The group can fit any event from trio to BIG band and they have

Read More »

Table of Contents

Or look at our Subscription Options.