Charlie’s Angel by Arnie Koch

Dick Ruedebusch from Milwaukee was a powerhouse on the trumpet, similar to Al Hirt. In 1965, Dick was playing with the Salt City Six in the Lounge at the Cape Colony Inn in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, led by Sam Donahue with featured vocalist, Frank Sinatra, Jr. was playing in the main ball room.

The band also featured lead trumpet player, Charlie Shavers. Shavers had first joined Tommy Dorsey in1945 to play the jazz chair and sometime lead trumpet. It was the first time an African-American had become a regular member of the band. Peggy Schwartz, a member of Dorsey’s Sentimentalists, recalled that, despite his importance to the band, “Charlie had to go through the backdoor of hotels on the road. He could never eat with the rest of the band. We had to bring him whatever he wanted from the restaurant or diner.” Continue reading

“A Night to Remember at Carnegie Hall” … by Arnie Koch

On November 1976,  drummer  Danny D’Imperio joined  Woody Herman’s “Thundering Herd” for a 40th Anniversary Concert at Carnegie Hall.  It was in November, 1936 that the fledgling Herman crew, newly- constructed from musicians from the disbanded Isham Jones orchestra, played its first job at the Roseland in Brooklyn.
As the “Alumni Herd” gathered at the rehearsal studio, a jazz columnist  described the scene: Continue reading

Those Were the Days…By Arnie Koch

Most of  top jazz clubs have long since faded away, but not from our memories.  In Boston, there was the Hi Hat at Massachusetts and Columbus Avenues where Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Roy Eldridge frequently appeared and Symphony Sid did his nightly broadcasts over WCOP. Nearby was The Savoy which featured more traditional jazz  as did Storyville in the basement of the Buckminster Hotel in Kenmore .  It was run by former BU student and jazz impresario, George Wein, who later founded the Newport Jazz Festival. The clubs provided work for many future stars such as George Benson who appeared at Estelle’s on Tremont St. I can remember going to Paul’s Mall on Boylston Street and seeing Bette Midler with a young accompanist named Barry Manilow. Continue reading