Sterling Bose: Forgotten Hot Jazz Cornetist

JB: So many fantastic musicians of the jazz era who made their living as sidemen never received enough limelight to be widely remembered by modern audiences or anyone other than jazz historians and collectors. Such is the case of cornetist, trumpeter, vocalist, and practical joker Sterling Belmont “Bozo” Bose. He first appeared, both textually and photogenically, in our February column on Bob Crosby’s Bob Cats. Soon after that column’s release, Bose’s great-niece, Jan Ostrom, got in touch thanking us for including him in our Bob Cats discussion. She and Hal started a flurry of email exchanges and info sharing and it became evident that it was time to use this column to bring Mr. Bose into clearer focus. Hal and I invited the young musician/historian Colin Hancock as well as Jan Ostrom to join us and we are thrilled they both accepted! I was able to chat at length with Jan and learned that her first exposure to her great-uncle Sterling’s music was as a child hearing the 1935 Clambake Seven (Tommy Dorsey’s Dixieland group spawned from his big band) recording of “The Music Goes ’Round and ’Round,” during which we hear Bose’s solid lead playing and his playful vocal--and musical--interchanges with the fantastic vocalist Edythe Wright. I’ll
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Hal Smith is an Arkansas-based drummer and writer. He leads the New Orleans Night Owls and the
Mortonia Seven and works with a variety of jazz and swing bands. Visit him online at

Jeff Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, ASCAP composer, educator and entertainer. Visit him online at Email: [email protected]

Colin Hancock led the Buddy Bolden Cylinder Project while still in high school, recruiting experts on the topic to assist him. In college, he founded The Original Cornell Syncopators taking the group as far as the San Diego Jazz Festival. He cuts cylinder records and acoustic 78s of himself and other musicians, and creates remarkable overdubbed early jazz performances on which he plays every instrument. You may hear them at

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