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Sonny Clay's Planation Orchestra
Sonny Clay’s Orchestra played Plantation Café in Culver City, California in the mid-1920s. The nightclub was located on Washington Boulevard, at Elenda Street, across the street from La Ballona School. Silent film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle owned the club from 1928 to 1930. The orchestra’s first record was released under the name of the California Poppies in 1923. They also released records under the name of The Stompin’ Six in 1925.
Sonny Clay's Plantation Orchestra 1928 The band had some strong ties with the New Orleans Jazz scene. Trumpet player Ernest Coycault was from Violet, Louisiana a small town about 15 miles north of the city. Coycault had played in the Peerless Orchestra and had replaced Bunk Johnson in the Superior Orchestra while living in New Orleans. In 1914 he moved to Los Angeles to join Clay’s band. Sonny Clay himself had played drums in Jelly Roll Morton’s band in Mexico and Southern California in and with Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra in California in the early 1920s. Chicago Breakdown is one of Morton’s songs that Louis Armstrong and his Stompers also recorded in 1927. Vocalion 15641 was released under the name of Sonny Clay and his Orchestra.

Sonny Clay's Plantation Orchestra

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Bogloosa Blues
(Sonny Clay / Wiedoeft)
7-28-1925 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
B 15078
California Stomp
(Sturdevant)
8-26-1926 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
B 1050
Chicago Breakdown
(Jelly Roll Morton)
2-2-1926 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
B 15254
Devil’s Serenade
(Sonny Clay)
1-12-1928 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
B 15641
In My Dreams
(I’m Jealous Of You)

(Leon Rene / Otis Rene)
1-12-1928 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
A 15641
Jambled Blues
(Sonny Clay)
7-28-1925 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
A 15078
Plantation Blues
(Sonny Clay / Ernest Coycault)
2-2-1926 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
A 15254
Slow Motion Blues
(Sonny Clay)
8-26-1926 Los Angeles, California Vocalion
A 1050

Sonny Clay's Plantation Orchestra

Artist Instrument
William Blakeney Trumpet
John Carson Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Sonny Clay Piano, Leader
Ernest Coycault Trumpet
Leonard Davidson Clarinet
Louis Dodd Alto Saxophone, Banjo, Guitar
Fitzgerald Banjo
Luther Graven Trombone
William Griffin Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Herman Hoy Tuba
Rupert Jordan Banjo
Archie Lancaster Trumpet
David Lewis Drums
Willie McDaniels Drums, Kazoo
John Studevant Clarinet
W.B. Woodman Trombone

 

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