The other day when I was flipping through some records I ran across two 33s that were recorded at 501 Terrace Ave., which is right down the street from me. One of the LPs is an acetate dated 1963, but between tracks at a couple points someone announces that some of the tracks were recorded a couple years before that. (Acetates, by the way, are made in very limited quantities, with no intention, usually, of a commercial release, so I’m always curious when I find one – but their quality declines quickly, and the next time a needle drops I’ll be downloading it digitally, to make sure the music survives.)
The music on the acetates consist of “traditional jazz” (Dixieland or “hot jazz” or other terms that are used to define this style). Presumably the music was never officially released, and of course I wanted to know who recorded it and what their history was. Did they play around Cincinnati, and did they continue to play music?
Fortunately two between-track monologues listed personnel (which underwent some changes) along with the instrument each person played. The musicians included: Bob Heidrich, trumpet (and apparently the tracks were recorded at his house); John Cantrell, clarinet; Jack Fessler, banjo; Jack Horning, drums; Jim Osborne, trombone; Bill Sporr, piano; Ken Steagman, sousaphone; and Tom Harter. (In most cases these spellings are what linguists refer to as a phonetic stab in the dark).
1963 was awhile ago, and there was no guarantee when I visited cyberspace that any information would surface about the musicians—but a quick search proved fruitful. It turns out that at least two of the musicians still play traditional music, although not in Cincinnati; I’m pretty sure I got the right people because their name, instrument and genre all matched.
Interestingly, one of the musicians is the father of Mark Boone Junior, who’s played (more often than not) a bad guy (including a crooked cop) in dozens of movies and TV shows. His biggest roles include the Christopher Nolan films Memento and Batman Begins and FX’s Sons of Anarchy, where he plays Bobby Munson.
I’ve taken the initial steps in trying to track down some of the musicians involved with this project, and thus far it’s been a bust, but it’s still early in the process. I’m curious, though, if anyone reading this has any idea who any of the musicians are and how to reach them. I’d love to find out more about these musicians.