Ikey Robinson

Isaac L. “Banjo Ikey” Robinson (July 28, 1904 – October 25, 1990) was a prolific banjo player that recorded with Clarence Williams’ Jug Band, Jabbo Smith’s Rhythm Aces, Richard M. Jones’ Jazz Wizards, Franky “Half Pint” Jaxon,  Alex Hill and his Orchestra, Birtha “Chippie” Hill, and his own bands.

Ikey was born in Dublin, Virginia, andbBy the age of 14 Ikey was already a professional singer and banjo player for several Virginia groups. In 1926 he moved to Chicago, where he played with Jelly Roll Morton and the Sammy Stewart Band.  In 1929 He made the fantastic recordings with Jabbo Smith and the Rhythm Aces (which according to Jabbo was Ikey’s band).

Ikey in 1979

Ikey in 1979

Here is some info on Ikey Robinson from something called “weeniepedia” (?):

http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Banjo_Ikey_Robinson

I wish I could find more pictures of Ikey, but this is all I could find, which is suprising considering how prolific he was.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bob Gillette

Bob Gillette played with Bix Beiderbecke & the Wolverines, and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.

I just noticed that it looks like he is playing a 5 string banjo with the 5 string removed.

Bob Gillette

Bob Gillette

Listen to Bob in this recording of the Wolverines’ Tiajuana [sic]
Bob with arm resting on Bix

Bob with arm resting on Bix

Bix Beiderbecke recording session at Gennett Studio

Bix Beiderbecke recording session at Gennett Studio

In 1924, the Wolverines recorded a Hoagy Carmichael tune called “Freewheeling”.  The band liked the tune but not the name.  Bix said it reminded him of a Riverboat.  Bob said that the rhythm had a shuffle to it.  They renamed it the “Riverboat Shuffle” which has gone on to become a classic.
Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Bill Eastwood

Bill Eastwood played with the Halfway House Orchestra, New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and the Norman Brownlee Jazz band. 

The Halfway House

The Halfway House

The Halfway House

The Halfway House was a supper club located halfway between New Orleans and Lake Ponchartrain.  The group Eastwood played with was formed around 1923.

The Halfway House Orchestra

The Halfway House Orchestra

Recordings of the band can be purchased Here:

http://www.louisianamusicfactory.com/showoneprod.asp?ProductID=5337

Eastwood can be heard tearing it up in this recording of Pussycat Rag and Let Me Call You Sweetheart.  Other songs can be heard on youtube.

Bill Eastwood

Bill Eastwood (1899-1960)

 

Norman Brownlee Jazz Band
(courtesy of nfo.net)

One of the early “white” jazz bands. This early dixieland group is not remembered today, but was well known and very popular in the 1920’s.
In private correspondence, Henry Brownlee, Norman’s son, has mentioned that on “Dirty Rag”, recorded December 1925 in New Orleans; Okeh # 40337), the sidemen consisted of:
(My father, Norman Brownlee, Pianist, had several top-notch sidemen in his band.)
* Sharkey Bonano, cornet. Emmett Hardy was the band’s first Cornetist. But, Emmett, a dim, legendary figure, never recorded and died at the young age of 22. His playing is reputed to have influenced Bix Beidebecke (who died at age 28).
After Emmett Hardy died, he was followed by trumpeters Wingy Manone, Johnny Wiggs, Sharkey Bonano (who was on the Okeh recording of “Peculiar” and “Dirty Rag” recorded December 1925 in New Orleans; Okeh # 40337)
* On trombone was mainly Tom Brown and George Barth (who doubled on Sax and Bass.
* Mellophone was played by Billy Braun who doubled on piano.
* Bill Eastwood was on Banjo, doubled on Guitar and Baritone Sax. (“but the record was cut with my uncle, Behrman French, on banjo”.)
* On clarinet he had Larry Shields; then after Larry went to New York, his brother Harry Shields came in (he is on the record).
* Alto/Baritone Sax was played by Hal Jordy.
* On drums was Alonzo Crombie. Dad said — “you start a piece, go out and eat lunch, and when you got back Al Crombie’s beat was as steady as when you left! Like a metronome!”

“He had other sidemen, of course, over the years. Also, most of the members doubled on other instruments, Dad also played string bass; Eastwood played piano; almost all played saxophone (Dad played Tenor Sax as well).”

“My Dad played a short stint on String Bass with Paul Whiteman when he was in town. And, he was a good friend of Jack Teagarden. I remember when I was about 10, Jack’s band came to New Orleans to play the old St. Charles Theater and Dad took me to hear them. Jack spotted him in the audience and made him go up on stage – they greeted each other like lost brothers! I was in awe! Of course I got to meet him and his brother Charlie. The Dorsey Brothers said Dad had the first “Swing” Band in America. Dad’s String Bass is in the New Orleans Jazz Museum.”
This entry on the wonderful Norman Brownlee Orch., was graciously submitted by his son Henry. F. Brownlee.

 

The New Orleans Rhythm Kings had different banjo players and I don’t know which tunes Eastwood played on.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment