Speaker All right.

Speaker No, we’ll cut in different place than we will go we’ll cut back to you and you’ll tell a story as a complete plane without a question. So if you can remember, I may stop you or ask you something sometime. Try to begin each time with like a beginning, like a starting place, like. So it’s a full idea and not counting on something I may have said. Like I said, remember when you met Louis Armstrong? He would say, instead of saying, well, we I met him in such. And so she would say, I remember I met Louis, I met Louis Armstrong. He was such and such. So I get the whole his name and the beginning of the sentence. Do you stay with him? Well, I mean, I think so. So because I know it’s it’s hard when I get tough when you get talking to me. Forget it.

Speaker You want to start but my meeting. I’m sorry for us.

Speaker Oh, well, it’s the beginning.

Speaker I was playing in the biz. You see then that that’s a T or B theater. I was playing saxophone there and I wasn’t getting paid, but I just wanted to do it. And that’s weekends when school is out. Up to my heart and down to the bijou and playing for all the black shows came to the city. The second of the two, you’ll be saying all of the blues singers. Every one of them and the comedians and some of the big time reviews will play there. And sometimes they will like me. And this all happened. Some say a Simers show came to then they wanted us play a saxophone player. So they asked me what I travel with them.

Speaker Well, I had to get permission from my father. He didn’t like the idea, but finally he let me go because I wanted to go. So I travel with this was this sunshine same issue all the way to Chicago? Well, we were never getting paid anyway. And when the week paid me, they would always have an excuse to give you some money. But what what what they promise us was that we never received. We had just enough money to live on. I couldn’t leave and go back to Nashville because I didn’t have enough money for the train fare. So why we were Chicago, the manager of the show disappeared. So we had no money. And I slept in the railroad station until the next morning. And I got up and walked all the way down to the. And I walked around and never saw such a sit in all my life. Now, I was really afraid being there, but I was walking around and I saw a sign in the window of a big cafeteria in Chicago. And it so this was a water. All right in there and I was accepted. So I stayed and they fed me all I wanted to eat. I said, there’s some fresh morning. I said, then nothing happened. I was just eating and sitting around about noon time. I never saw so many dishes at all. I was full of grease. All of us. We didn’t have the machines that they had have now. So I went to the man.

Speaker I said, look, I need something to stop to change the grease that day.

Speaker So he gave me three dollars. And now Mitt Romney is doing butter power charges.

Speaker In the meantime, fella, that was Rick in that the captain said, What are you doing here? I’m a musician.

Speaker And he said, Oh, you want to go out on the south side and hear some jazz? That’s it. So you do. So we went out there. I never went back to the cafeteria because I was on the south side. I found a nice place I could stay for maybe two hours a night. The woman had an apartment and she said, Oh, son. We understand how rough it is, you guys, shall I say I have a son and I hope he’s treated nice on the road and says, you can come in and stay with us. And when you get some money, you give us otherwise, you know, that’s it. So I moved out there and went back to the cafeteria. So the fellas then took me out to the first place it took me was a dream man. And I understand a fellow named Bill Bottoms or Ned, please. A play there for a long time. But he wasn’t there when they went out. I wanted to be by there. So as a face, please. It was a nice band. And they’re called Albert Wynn Creole Jazz Band, all from New Orleans, all the musicians, you know. And then he carried me to the sunset and he took the initiative and mandates that stand. You can’t sit if you hadn’t stood up against the wall. And I heard the band’s music. I didn’t know who they were all from New Orleans. And we went right across the street and they wouldn’t let me in. But this year, I could still walk around the back and sit in an alley. They have rubber alleys and sugar. And next to the bandstand, I said, I’ll grab that, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s great. And they were racist. I decided I decided that I’m going back to Nashville. I’m not I’m not capable of playing and playing in Chicago. I don’t know that much. I’m not that good. So he called me to several places. And then I went back to a I met a fellow named. Dorm. Big fat government. His name is. He had a band. He says a you okay? Where are you from? Seven from Nashville. To say you got. You have to join the union. That’s it. I never heard anything like that. So he said, you go to a union on State Street and get a good look at your card. So the next morning I went to a union and the president was named Hot Hightower. I’ll never forget her. And she read me. I said, Madam, I’d like to join the musicians union. She says a vote is 50 dollars to join. She said, where are you from us? I’m from Nashville, Tennessee. She says, I can give you a card, but you can work in Chicago because you’re not from New Orleans. I said, what do you mean? She said, Well, that’s the law as all the Chicago musicians can work clubs in Chicago. That’s why she said, well, Al Capone. That was his law. He sent the new owners and brought musicians, the good musicians, to Chicago to play in all of his places, nightclubs, cabarets and joints after our place. Because he he was selling his own beer and whiskey. So all those. He had a law laid law down that you had to be from. Don’t have to be. She would say, well, I said so. What about. She says, where are you from? And I said, I’m from Nashville. She says, Well, I graduated from Fisk University in Nashville. This is. So she gave me a card. So now you can’t break in Chicago proper, but you can work outside the suburbs. So I think. And I went back and that I didn’t see any place where I could work. No one.

Speaker I met quite a few missed musicians. But the musicians in Chicago those days look what we call stuck up musician.

Speaker They didn’t want to have. They do me, you know. You do, you know, say hello. What about the. So I went back to the union. I say to the. I says, I don’t know what I’m going to do here, she said. At that time at a unit, there was another girl there and she introduced me to that little girl. I’m sure Lillian and Miss Hightower both graduated from Fisk University in Nashville.

Speaker So Linda’s if I’m trying to help you. She had a group playing on out in the suburbs, you know, like that Indiana police like that. And she carried me out with my cornet and improved sexual because after him, I was here in Chicago, saw the sights, saxophone right away. I said, that’s it, because no saxophone player or other one sound like anything to me at all. Well, I it got played as well as most of the saxophone players, Rajko. So I got of that.

Speaker Because at IBM it was too hip for. Medicare. Mr Abbott. Thirty pounds. So Lillian took me out on some gigs with her. She liked to play cornet. So I said the diplomat will do. So she says. You go by the dream and say, because they had some trouble with musicians there and speak to Albert Wynn. So that’s what I did. I won’t speak.

Speaker Albert Trommel Cliff. No. And he said that I don’t know. You can’t you can’t you not from what? I have trouble hearing you because you have to have New Orleans musicians in this club. So lunacies. OK. So she got Lucy called little Louis just come to Chicago.

Speaker Let’s start again right there, because we know, beloved, you say Leon was Louis Armstrong.

Speaker She called him. Yes, she brought him as far as toys.

Speaker Louis had just come to Chicago, so she brought him by the dreamer and Louis said, You want to wait? I said, Sure, no one is going to wait here. I say, Yeah, but I’m not. I’m not. No, he said to wait. So I said, what’s happening? And I understand that Lubas Al Capone’s main man, you do anything. So I want to do what he wanted to do in Chicago. So I joined Evergreen’s Creole jazz band in Chicago, and I stayed there over two years and I traveled around to listen to bands and all these bands and learn. I learned all the knowledge, important New Orleans tunes in Chicago while I was there.

Speaker Well, Louis had just come from New York, from Fletcher’s band, and never there were there were trucks.

Speaker Cabs, wagons with amplifiers playing all of Luis Armstrong’s recordings. And in the troubled prisons in Chicago. Jealous, they would say who did? Who do you think is covered that they thought they were greater than Louis?

Speaker And they did. They gave him a pretty hard time. Well, they helped me a lot. One time he sent me to the Vendome. He was being featured there. And he’s he came back to Dreamland and said, Dad, I want you to go to the Vienneau Theater because I will take off as a theorist. Nobody’s going to say anything to you. And I wasn’t big enough to play, you know. I knew that. That’s it. I can’t answer that. I can’t do that. Is it. Will you go on over there and nobody’s gonna say one word to you? So I went to the rehearsal.

Speaker And I went in this theater with doing theater. I sat there in the front row. Right. But the real isn’t one by one. The Catskills are coming in. What’s that all about? Twelve years back then.

Speaker Take care. No one said, who are you? What are you doing in here? You know, no one said anything.

Speaker So they realize they had to first rehearse. The film has some music into incidental things, the place for the film.

Speaker So the risks to the real that Tottenham needs separately. I said no simulation here.

Speaker He said he wanted to come out and say, I want to see it. So I went and sat next to him. That was a Tate’s brother used to lead publicly in the pit band.

Speaker So no one said anything to me at all. So they played for the film and then they played the overture that they played for Louis.

Speaker And teach Bless Your Soul.

Speaker So I got up and played this pretty song. I knew this song because I was there. I’ve listened to it at the theater and often as I could. Some big entitled Pulling a Rich Girl. That was Lewis feature. So I knew it. And I played it back. I called it. No one said that was nice. Who were you? There was that. So I went back. A nervous start. So the night of the show with that theater, I sat down and I had recorded. The bear started to play in the film. I didn’t have to do that. So they built into the whole thing. So Tate hit upon an introduction, probably riskier, the most beautiful introduction. And I stood up a spotlight. Hit me like a hit. No, it was over. No, I was there. The people scream so that before he hit a note, the people screaming. And then he had the car. You know, he had to get quiet down to hear what he’s playing with. The people gave him such a big ovation like that. When I stood, a spotlight hit me right in the face. And at the tail end of the day, the deeper level and people start screaming.

Speaker And then it died down just like that. That isn’t it. That’s what they were. That’s why they did not feel like bureau. I feel like the. I feel like going through the floor. But I was being paid so that I felt it even that no one in that van.

Speaker Sid, what’s your name? They knew the noise. So they’re afraid to say anything to you. Let’s let’s.

Speaker Sometimes Al Capone and some of his henchmen come by the dreamland. In fact, they’ve always once in a while.

Speaker Visit all the clubs to see how things are won. And then I didn’t know where it was until I was there, seduced. And I was told that that’s Al Capone and they would always come at the very end of the night. So we had to start all over again, start playing until daylight. We split into daylight and still all kind of tips in public. Donna Doubler lifted the ban and we played and we didn’t care. I didn’t care because I never saw that much. But all of us. So I stayed. We played for them. And then they left and we went up some Reshat. So that’s the next step was to go by the after hours zones. They took me by those. That’s where I went to the Apex Club. I met Jimmy, knew that I walked in. I didn’t have I was pretty game. Got it. I just walked in and felt all the doors. Yes. Like, I wanted to see this as a normal speech to Jimmy Noone. So Jim became a Tony. Well, was it easy? Was it. If you give me a round table. You musicians. So I sat there for a long time and I saw Benny Goodman, who he was, Bix Berrigan sometimes. There was another one. An agreement. But they were there. I made up I made it my business to go by the iPIX Club every night because Zimmerman was such a great.

Speaker I’d never heard playing like that planet except a type of music.

Speaker He was from New Orleans, of course. He was this next great jazz player. And I said, stay down to 12:00, isn’t it, Jimmy? And so did they. Had been a good I would always go buddy. Apex called.

Speaker I was invited and I had the road, but not little book clubs not letting me in because I had nothing. And so he invited me every night and he picks up mostly every night. And because they were friends, there was another musician, Norman.

Speaker It may have been, but I was only interested after hearing Jimi, that’s it kept my ears right on him. And so that was one of the greatest things that I was learning, too, because he was known as the player knows No on his terms.

Speaker And that was why I got into the saxophone, because.

Speaker The complete actual there may be one or two mostly black cast mix.

Speaker Well, I never.

Speaker Well, that’s an apex club that doubles the mix that makes the people, the team in black and white. It didn’t make a difference. If the small club didn’t, then it didn’t. It wasn’t nice and not a lot of people, but it was a joint. The Dow opened up and it was very successful with Jim. And to seize the day, as I said, our soldiers beer and whiskey in those places. But I went to other places where Louis was playing like the sunset. And I further told me he said that for me. Jack Carter. He says, walk this walk out here like your old Joselo behind. Alice Walker, make your own judgment. So that’s what I did. Now into the Sunset Live was there with Carol Dixon’s band. What a beautiful thing. And I walked in the sunset and just walked past a on the dawn. What to halfway through the club stood up by the wall. All for once. No one said one thing to me. And that’s where I do it. Surely, Carly nodded. Somebody, please. So happy to be playing with learning that most of the world getting too much money. But they didn’t want a lot of money. They wanted to get the chance to play with Lou. That’s where I stayed. I did that so mean. A nice to they finally caught up with me and threw me out.

Speaker So I visited other clubs. Fred Kaplan.

Speaker There were so many so many beautiful clubs, bands in Chicago, and I just went from one to the other, one to the other, and it was it was insulting to me to learn all of those beautiful songs.

Speaker Where did you base for the first?

Speaker I only had books on records I never heard him and proud because we weren’t allowed to go eat or too wasn’t allowed to eat. We weren’t allowed to pass state streets and make it. And that was against the number 10. Nothing should go ahead. And number 10 downtown. We weren’t supposed to go down there. They weren’t supposed to come up to pass. But they did.

Speaker But we couldn’t have we couldn’t play downstairs to eat, you know, to to eat was was black.

Speaker And number ten was white.

Speaker Dan Luke. Two unions. And we weren’t allowed to plead down to particular and plead climate.

Speaker Listen is in play the game up listening. When they finish the first thing they did come up and listen to the guys on the south side playing all New Orleans music.

Speaker What do you think?

Speaker Well, I was surprised because you see it coming from natural, where we didn’t we knew nothing about jazz, anything down there, and I couldn’t have a surprise when I heard it because of the most beautiful thing ever playing a role in my life. His harmonies and his style and his technique, I thought was one more thing I’ve heard. And I tried clues like all other probably as we tried to copy him, but we couldn’t do it because he had too much head, too much up here. And I never got a chance to meet him. And I’m sorry about it, but I was I was just one. I wanted to take in everything I could take in in Chicago as a learning a new one, the star.

Speaker Most of the trumpet players that I played with, Chicago musicians didn’t like. Didn’t seem to think Lou was so great. Not on most. Yes, a lot of musicians in Chicago. There were two others. And it didn’t take Lou is as great as he was. And there was this setup jam session. I think I can call a name Naipaul’s the number dead. The Jabel Shirley Clay.

Speaker The cat’s name.

Speaker Well, there’s about five of. I remember the day they set up like a jam session and invited Louis Armstrong to it. And Louis and Louis arrived. He had an idea of what it was all about. So when did you arrive at this little hole where they had this jam session? Because in a plane, it was a jam, a channel to place. So they walked in. And there was still a plea and they walked in and took his car out. He’s been cornered out of his case. And everybody stopped to hear him. So he started playing Chinatown real fast food, a very heavy period, closed down, and he played 100 high seas in 60 of 100 there, bass counter car. And the rest of the guys, one by one, took the whole pillowcase and walked out. They never bothered at all. And, you know, because a lot of the other troubled players in Chicago then wanted to know why did they? Armstrong had me to sub for him at the Vendome Theater. They were all curious about the new angry about it, because I was no, nobody knew me in Chicago.

Speaker So, Louis.

Speaker I never knew why for a long time why he likes why I gave me that opportunity. I wonder why I never asked him. I should have, but I never. Because he paid me, gave me a check for eighty five dollars every time a play. And I was thinking about the money I was getting. I forgot to thank him for it. So I was eating and paying rent as long as I was there. So there was a piano player named Charlie Brown. You have here. He was very close to Louis. So I was played a concert here in New York with Charlie. That’s just the day he passed before he appeared. And I asked him, I said why I never was there when Louis chose me to go to Vendome to serve him when there was there were four or five trumpet players from New Orleans and Chicago with the. Wow. That will kind of mafia rogue guy’s name. And he said what? He told me that to me, why he chose you to say, because you’re nice. He’s a nice guy. And he said the musicians were all envious of him.

Speaker They weren’t friendly with him. Do the time he was there. And he said he never go back to New Orleans. He did go back. That’s why he is a nice guy.

Speaker I was a nice guy.

Speaker Really an unforgettable rugby player. Never let me play.

Speaker That’s. Would you move to New York? A lot of musicians started to move from Chicago to New York. Yes. And Benny Goodman was one of them. He came with a band for the band. What was the deals of musicians coming from Chicago? New York was there was the record industry was there was a chance to be at records. If that was part of it or if you can lead up to there eventually, when, as I understood it, you were just telling me you were freelancing around New York, playing occasionally recording sessions said that.

Speaker When I did lead up to that at Dreamland, I stayed there. Maybe.

Speaker Three or four weeks, because the business was bad. He had no business. This fellow was a big, strong dollar, last name was Williams, and he that’s why he was played hard me, because I was from out of town and I didn’t know his business or anything like that. So we got a group of men to dreamland to play. And when we finish, he would invite me into his office. He had a big ledger. I had my name in had because I was a leader. He made me a leader so he could be like that. End of the week, give me maybe ten dollars to get this one guy. He did. Didn’t. We never see the. So what happened? Every week. Every week. It was the same thing. So we were glad to get that. We a known little band of nothing bad, but we were keeping this place open for him because you tried to make it, but he couldn’t make it. So I had a lady from New York, but one of the big booking agents downtown came to Chicago looking for lead. Trouble. Play. And she came to all the places and everybody said that she was played at the theater. So she came to me and asked me what I like to go to Philadelphia. And John, Bubblies, Cotton Ticker’s I said I said we weren’t doing anything. In the meantime, this guy. After I left Chicago. He put me in the union and he had signed. He wrote in this letter that he had paid everybody every week the full salary he did. And the union didn’t believe it. Louis didn’t leave. This is the mayor is a little. And I would go to the union here and they straightened it out. They knew the man was alive. He never paid anybody who said you’d give us a little ten dollars here. Twenty dollars. So that that hurt me for a while. But the musicians that I knew, Chicago, didn’t believe it. They knew this man was lying. So I went to Philadelphia. I joined bubblies, cotton pickers as a lead southern player. And we played Sigrid, New Jersey, for two seasons. Siegert in. And that close, I went to Philadelphia. Another place was Will Bill de Paris, New Orleans Jazz Band be played approach to it and simply parades in the street? I know that I stayed stayed at his house because I wasn’t I wasn’t. I never had any money. Interesting. Stated will be the parish, his house, and he fed me. And the third thing, well will be kept a diary of what I was eating.

Speaker Like I say this because he did. And at.

Speaker When his band broke up, so to speak, I decided to go to New York on my own. So Wilbur pulled out, as it does say, such and such a day. You had two extra biscuits, was a boot, too, and you had an extra a you had some bacon. And I had to pay him for what he fed me while I was there in his house. So I paid and I went on to the New York governor in New York three days before John Newton and Tim Briem, Lou Tennant.

Speaker Tim Briem was one of the ways that Europe’s ban was a name to change from Europe in the twenties. James Reese, you’re Jim Brehm was well, the lieutenant band members is that bad. So he had a review playing the second in New York, all the teeth. So he was a lead tabla player. And he had to show that the dancers chorus goes anything. And so I did all of those things. In the meantime, a band came from Europe called Sam Woodings Chocolatiers. They had been in Europe for five years. They came on vacation and they needed to travel play.

Speaker I got to get back. Yes. Let’s get back to the day out, the day I left was sandwiched in Chick Webb.

Speaker Her job down the town, some who tells us the party and he needed leads. So I played that one night, the chick with the next night I was on the boat and Sam with his band, three years as the head of the Berlin Wall, of all the big casinos in three states scrambling. Three years, 1930 left Sam and Paris and came back to New York. And I went to Savoy and I met Tab Calloway’s band playing tennis. And he was yelling in general.

Speaker And I said, What is this? This is all new stuff. We didn’t meet him, but I heard him in a row about the business. Someone’s been Akala going to Detroit to join Matilda’s current. So they did the lead trumpet player and he’s been in card. And I went to Detroit to join the club because.

Speaker Well.

Speaker But she’s not here.

Speaker So work from Europe.

Speaker I wanted to see what’s happening in New York after being away three years. So the first place I want to go with the Savoy.

Speaker I know the first time I heard the and to Bandstand, I thought that was great. And Ken was there and he was upsetting the people, which is how the whole. So I heard him. And then after that, go back to my home and then my place has been akathisia gone. We need a new lead trumpet player to build the Detroit join the club. So how does that lead me in this country? So we stayed there until that band broke up and we came back to New York.

Speaker So.

Speaker Then you came back, came back to New York because Cab Calloway needed the lead subway player, better glasses, got to see cab.

Speaker So I was I went to the Cotton Club and the man his name wouldn’t let me in. I forget his name is in the top list. She wouldn’t let me is. Said, I won’t see Tab Pierre-Louis, you come in and several cabs sent from me. So he stood there, sat in a chair and stable ginger. He said the long term. I said, listen, Cab Calloway sent for me to come to the Cotton Club to see Cab Calloway. So if I call on the waiters and cab came out and give Gingered board about that, come on, let’s sit with it.

Speaker And whenever Heart and the band was setting up so Capsis to catch your horn and sit on the back seat on the bass. He had three other tabla players. I don’t know what the problem is. But one of them was leaving Fellaini they to. He was leaving other fella name Rupert Reeves. He was a member of the band. He and Kev. They didn’t get along together. Rubin was a Carol. Gary, I take a dislike here. I’m jealous of this an. But as to Mehar and Rubin gave me all the lead book shop. Now, I was reading that nobody’s business. I play it all, every bit of cabs, music, show, music, travel, but I don’t think I made one mistake.

Speaker And then Rubin got mad at me. Uh, new rule from Chicago.

Speaker I said, I don’t want to kmel jealousy, but stop the cabs and get fired. Rubin, you killed me. And I stay with cab nine years. It’s a cotton club between the Cotton Club and the travels that we did. Yes. Delamont 39, which I did so many. We did. Maybe a half a year. One night stands or to the south. Cab is very popular. We played with Doubled the Tedizolid, the theaters in New York and in the country, we played the theaters the morning. You get the character of the night. Sometimes they send us up the same thing because it was some of the mob up there. And we take the whole show banner. They come back to the Cotton Club at seven o’clock in the morning and go to maybe to make it that big theater category. So we did that for.

Speaker During the period you were with cash from thirty one thirty nine in the middle of that time was when Teddy Wilson broke in with ten. Did. Immigration of just a black eye playing with a white man, and then this rule changes that. I noticed the time was a big deal. Did it mean anything to you or when you were traveling with CAB? Did this sort of factor, the jazz change, you know, sort of like Jackie Robinson come to the Dodgers because it felt that way? Or was it just sort of known about. As a side thing that made a fuss over.

Speaker You mean traveling on the road with captain? Anyway.

Speaker And he said, well, I didn’t.

Speaker I didn’t know much about terrorists. Teddy Wilson’s a benefactor.

Speaker I never knew Teddy Wilson properly until I joined his group because I knew Teddy Wilson when he was in Erie, Pennsylvania, because it was not accurate. Where’s home?

Speaker I’ve noticed that he was in day care.

Speaker No, no. No one even thought about it. It just happened. And I think it just the greatest thing that happened happen. Billy was happy. He was the boss. He could do what he wanted to do with his bad. So we played with Cam, we played it all to the south because that is where the biggest audiences were for him, because they loved this, Heidi, who is jumping around? We did a lot of of films with Betty Boop things. Oh, Man of the Mountain. And he’s very popular probably here and the South, because we did six, five and six shows a day wherever we they would do. Well, sure.

Speaker And then another 10 people were later told, packed the show second down state that we do five shows a day. It was rough. It was it was rough in a way, because we we traveled in Pullman car. We had our own public special Pullman car because we would leave one town and one job, get in the car and wake up on the side called the side the nine at the town we played. If we did that all the time because everybody’s worn out. We played place a warehouse in Virginia.

Speaker And I never saw so many people at all manner inflict on police themselves. Cab, it was brave.

Speaker We did to show that there was a black and white. To show her the ropes. All done. I had on this side like this to show tell so much money and one night. I never saw anything like it. We went down when we finish. They had to take the horns out of the cases. The bass player had to take his A. Base cover off from his base. And he had to pull all this money in these cases. I never saw nothing like it. Head table close. From White Sands of the warehouse holds bundles of money notes, declared it down to the mill and dumped dump all this money out in the cabs. It was an affront. You call your private part of the puma. Kevin there you go. And anyway, that’s why they dumped all this money. And you walk night, and when it is all on the floor, rolled into behind a Christian are the seats that know something like a ballet. So it happened that night. It was PAINEI. So we will all in our pajamas, getting into getting in bed and people trying to get up the payroll, picking up this money. The Twin Towers and fire was to to pay us off. So after about three hours. Open the doors. Don. That. OK. So what in the hell? I never saw. Snake in my life. I was walking on money, so we gave him mussarat. So I went back into. Went to bed at about fifteen, twenty minutes before rest of the guy. It was twelve. It was a long time getting this money to make payroll. So after they finish it must have been about 4:00 in the morning. He was still trying to get a cab. Do people ever. Duccio, don’t you watch your damn money.

Speaker That’s it. Oh yes, sir. So with the debt they paid.

Speaker You did. I said I would back on my way to the assertion that I saw so much money on the floor. They didn’t know what they did. They were all night getting that money together. So I said, well, this is one time and would be dishonest as Ted Wells to part of that. I explained that to him about three years ago. We are coming from Denmark on the same plane. And he had invited me up to his cabin upstairs on the plane. We talked about all that. I said, tell that I have a confession to make. What? And said, you remember on the Pullman car, Zenin, it’s you. You were paying the guys off. So you paid your wife’s.

Speaker Antibes.

Speaker Let’s see how much it is. You know, that money is a. You decide not to tell.

Speaker He said he got to be the good get out. OK. God.

Speaker What’s this happens when you first heard the words, oh, that wait. That’s what that means, is that this sees everything.

Speaker It upset, upset. I think the whole world and beleaguered McCain came out with a lot of the Stouffer’s was raised by Fred Johannesson. You know, of course, a flitton pledging his no sound that good has been a good thing because they had a good readers and good players and went together and everybody’s excited. I mean, I never in my life news just woke everybody up.

Speaker The first time I was in, I was in New York.

Speaker I may have been Wittkamp doing it. I think so. But it was very exciting. This I think, you know, what it did to the whole world. I was excited about being a goodness man. Music is great.

Speaker Great radio.

Speaker I heard it first on the radio. I think Harry James is in that band and Ziggy Elman. And they were great players. I mean, the bear was so tight. Never anything like it in my life before. Just wonderful.

Speaker James did his version of Harry James.

Speaker No. You see, why not John? Benny Goodman. I mean, he many accepted me to play with him after the audition. We were heroes, heroes every day. He’d like he’d like to rise. And he rehearsed the man we had of August. I think a few guys met and he decided to make a little. We rise, Benambra rise every day. This 57 st, I think, is Skitz Henderson’s place everyday because he was organized a new group and he would he was he would take his clarinet and he would start playing. He wouldn’t say, let’s please. He never called and called a number the tune you’re going to play. Never. So he just started playing like. But how about how about 80, whatever that you’re supposed to follow him blowing in. That’s what he always did. As I was with him. So when he one day was on one of his rehearsals, he was playing. But his solo vocal in a band sound beautiful behind. And all of a sudden he stopped and turned around to the bass player and said, How are you not playing that bridge is something you’re not playing a bridge. Right.

Speaker Or something. And I would say there will be a play the same bridge. I played with a show and then he was fired. If I had roles, but because, you know, show I you were rivals, so to speak, here tonight, there’s no use every every rehearsal.

Speaker He would find someone who never frightened me. I don’t know why. Because I was. I was on the list. You had the whole band one day. And so we walked out and I was the last one to go out.

Speaker He stuck his head out of the way. You do. And so he fired the added value. So he got along very, very well with me. We never had in itself.

Speaker Was Benny Goodman.

Speaker He went to Las Vegas. We shall Brussels, Belgium. He was always, always nice to me. But every now, Saturdays, he fathered pitifully. Had he drove all the way from New York to know to Fort Lauderdale. And he fired him on the rehearsal.

Speaker Playing the blues. So he turned to the. To the private citizens.

Speaker Give me an introduction like Campisi and this trial several times. Jennifer. Very good. He couldn’t do it, but he played it so beautifully, so very seriously.

Speaker The gods of pure play jumped up and said, this is, if you will, karbasi. You get to. So so they brought Red Narvo and fill in the spotlight.

Speaker He was very exceptionally good to me.

Speaker I don’t know why, but he’d like to be the best shot.

Speaker No, no. He has valet. He had valet with him all the time.

Speaker I forget his name and very valuable to local. No, he would he would break through Hacer right away and go to the office and stay so long as he knew something was wrong. The velvet come out of these places so we can’t use it suddenly. Yes. He’s very nice about you.

Speaker But he was, he was making up a program. He wanted to use it everywhere we play. So he wanted me to play Harry James and Shine. So he gave me the album to take home of to study it. So I took the nude. I knew exactly the thing. Herrity was blamed because I admired her. I knew the whole thing. So I took the album home just to please him. The next next rehearsal, a gate came by and gave me. He said, What is it? I said, I know Benny. All right, let’s play that freedom will now take his hat off to Harry James as we use it this way that the tape was going to start. So Herod’s agent played a big cadenza, you know, will be my baby.

Speaker But I but believe that everybody who went about Ebola to.

Speaker Then I suppose, let it shine, but as I travel all the way through and ending and all ever think I do it.

Speaker That’s great. That’s it. That’s all right. Rehearsal again the next day, rehearsing the doctor who will now take over his head out. How does a political history like this, like ever know? I don’t doubt the jump wasn’t complete silence. Robert. So I turned it on myself. I said, you know, Benazir doesn’t let me tell it the this debate you have to do. And so let me tell you, I said, well, I’m sorry. So it told up. So, you know, you come in on a picnic at Temple. I forgot. So we’ll be there again and again and again and again. Sort. So please don’t don’t talk. They went out fine. So we went to the we to the doctors association, walled off the patient crowd. We were sensation. And then he put the show on and got around to me. Of course, not to take his hat off to Harry Jay. So I hit Armonica.

Speaker Does dead.

Speaker Not only that, you know, the dirty little robot completes the.

Speaker About three minutes to the was spent in the Java Sea. Doo doo doo doo doo. And that started. Then I heard doo doo doo doo.

Speaker That’s where I play. You gave it a will build it and say, well, I do. I’m fine.

Speaker I play the whole chorus in that temple because I got to do, you know, I couldn’t do it. So we finish my. I say, well no, I’m fine. So I won’t let you finish the game. Bennett was gone. This is Standard Pediments so far.

Speaker Yep. You’ve added Cee Lo because he was have back trouble.

Speaker But he did come down to see me two, three times when I was at the Roosevelt Hotel down to the crawdad with said we’ll let him talk about it.

Speaker You know, that is bad guys in the band.

Speaker I was told that he had problems with his back and he couldn’t play along.

Speaker OK.

Speaker Let’s start with. You know Gene Krupa.

Speaker As I say, he was a student of Chick Webbs. I always say that because he was there every night that he could dig in and check with Chick Webb was one of the first drummers. If I can describe it right, that played figures.

Speaker And they were never done before because he sat right behind the trumpet section. He could read everything figured and stuff it. Maybe he would do it on his drum. That was never done before.

Speaker And.

Speaker Gene Krupa was there, and I must have noticed that he was there and he himself said Chigwell was the greatest drummer in the world.

Speaker And that’s but but as far as a battle of music between the two beds, cause Chick fil two, he outplayed better some of the guys who beat his band and felt the outplayed chick or that with that, too. So that way it was all but they were both battling and I never ending my life. But other know. That was so great.

Speaker You came hear how you described to the greatest date having the world without the trade.

Speaker But I was in New York and I went up there.

Speaker And the place was jam because everybody was curious. Ray important night and jazz at to support. So everybody was there and he was jumping the place with Jeopardy, you know. And Bob was jumping in the world of these new, like, revelatory. And the places were so many people, hundreds of people standing in front of the bandstand. Other than the people who are dancing, other people designated. Just enjoying that they didn’t understand anything about what’s going on on the bench. Nobody noticed they would dance. But the crowds in front of the bench were screaming, something that sort of be photographed.

Speaker I think back in those days, they, too, were battle another. I don’t think one out one either one of those bands, one as far as I’m concerned. Well, I thought they both were so great.

Speaker A different sort of different sets.

Speaker Yes.

Speaker So they were there and there were two bandstands at the Savoy. And Ben was on one and Chigwell was on. Other bands on the stand. And then they would both they were played. I don’t think the two bands were playing together, but they would be separately. But one set and get off and secretly said that’s where about men all with. It was something that we recorded years ago.

Speaker Let’s go back to Fletcher.

Speaker Fletcher had one of the greatest bands in the country, but his problem was, as far as I can see it, he never had an opportunity to to play point places. His his days, as most were, for the colored by the black affairs. That’s why he never had an opportunity to play for the white affairs. Maybe one. I think he played it downtown to Rosemeadow. So like it does. But as far as he got and I never knew him to play in Wales. And there were not too many black affairs that could support it. He had a rough time and a man ban traveled shall always play again into black affairs. And, you know, that’s that’s why they didn’t know a lot of money and they didn’t give a job. Well, they were famous was one of the famous most famous bands in the country.

Speaker He show me the money.

Speaker Well, those are the people that those are the bands that they were hiring. And they will they will come competitive. You know, they do the best they will and no one else in the other bars. But those bands, those also the most popular bands. That was going in those days, bacchanals, the mail had it. And all those guns and the doses with the doors is broken. Jimmy and Jimmy, all separate bands, they were feuding one another. And Harry James and Benny Goodman, all those bands they were doing all the way. And so the black bears were doing some.

Speaker And this was just one of those things. They weren’t being being the hard, crazy people. No, please. No one to hire them had the money to pay for those bears. And they were paid very poorly. Fletcher was paid very poorly. Charlie Johnson’s band down in the small, poorly paid very poorly in cash.

Speaker No, I was, as I say, coming back from Europe three years in Europe and joining Benedetta, though I was the patron. I was lucky. I will do it for four euro for what it was. I never had a lay off anything. I was doing Wakan and Fletcher was laying off a little Basnight at the Savoy, had quite a few people like look at Melana. Savoy was a big savior for the black bears those days because he wasn’t paying anything to you. Could normal be of what they were paid? But you wakens of what. A lot for the black bands in the car.

Speaker She’s the best.

Speaker He was so relaxed. It was crazy.

Speaker Yes. Fletcher was never. He was. He was always relaxed. He never said anything to the musicians. If they played bad, he never said it. He was like that. And he was like he was more like Duke Ellington than the bandleader Dave North in the band. Lot of time we had heavy drinkers in the band and they drank and so we could have their play. We play together. They didn’t blend as well as Billy Goodman did.

Speaker They didn’t blame Israel together, but they were all four of his saxophone player were stars. And it’s hard, very difficult back in those days to get four star sexual players to blend together because they all had different ideas, separate ideas, how they want to sound. But the people were accustomed to that. And the band was it was a hit band. People liked it. They said, well, it wasn’t together, wasn’t airtight like Benny Goodman band. You could tell that. By the way, the reason that Fletcher was it was a you would call him a genius as a composer. And his brother to Horace, they got together at all.

Speaker But Horace also was a gifted musician. And he is arrangements sound just like Fletcher’s raves. But the Times. But they never got together as brothers out of the way.

Doc Cheatham
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Doc Cheatham , Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). January 21, 1993 ,
(1 , 1). Doc Cheatham , Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Doc Cheatham , Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). January 21, 1993 . Accessed June 6, 2023


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