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Pat Kelly's UNOFFICIAL

Cincinnati jazz newspaper clippings researched and compiled by Bill Soudrette and Pat Kelly

 

Introduction

My friend and colleague Bill Soudrette and I have been assembling this collection of newspaper clippings of articles and advertisements of Cincinnati area jazz events occuring since the 1920s. Bill has researched and located the clippings based upon our common knowledge of what has come before. He has found a wealth of ads from different clubs and venues that shed more light upon the past, as well as, reviews and articles about performances. You will see that there was a heyday in the 1950s and 60s when jazz really thrived here.

The limitation in this line of research is that we find ads of only those jazz clubs that had a budget to purchase advertising in the newspapers. We know that there was other jazz of significance being played, especially in the West End, the most prominent African-American community of the 1920s-1970s. And there can be little doubt that the segregation of the time has played a part in that lack of documentation, as well. Contributions of information about that activity would be welcomed. The date beneath each ad or article shows when it ran in one of the local newspapers.

It is hoped that you will enjoy this ongoing (we have much still to add) project of research into the great jazz tradition of Cincinnati.

- Pat Kelly

 

Click here to see essays by local musicians and a listing of Cincinnati jazz musicians of the past

1920s

Not too much going on in the 1920s as far as a presence of jazz in the local newspapers. There are classified advertisements for how to learn to play jazz, for instruments, and for dance lessons. There are shows at the Albee and Music Hall, notably one featuring Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. Although drawing upon the spirit and innovations of African-American music, his orchestra remained a very refined and "sweet" version of jazz, mostly lacking the earthiness of the authentic product. There are no Black musicians advertised during this time. (We will keep looking.)

 

albee

March 22, 1925

jazz

December 2, 1922

cyril

March 27, 1927

whiteman

May 20, 1924

pep

October 18, 1925

lessons

May 18, 1924

jazz

September 14, 1924

1930s

There was little documentation of activity by locally based musicians in the 1930s, with the exception of the esteemed Dr. Artie Matthews (see below). There were night clubs in the West End - The Cotton Club (at 6th and Mound) and Kelly's Nite Club (at 14th and Central).

It has long been a point of pride that the great stride pianist, vocalist and entertainer Thomas "Fats" Waller was a house musician with Cincinnati's 100,000 watt WLW radio station, the broadcasts of which could be heard nationwide. There are legendary stories about him defying station owner Powell Crosley's edict that there was to be no drinking of alcohol in the broadcast studio. Years later, the legend has it, empty gin bottles were found behind the radio station's great theater organ console which had been deposited there by Mr. Waller.

There were national touring jazz acts that made it through Cincinnati and they played at The Greystone Ballroom, Cincinnati's premier venue for Aftrican-American events during times of segregation (It was known as "The Topper Club" for white events; it is now known just as "Music Hall Ballroom"). Castle Farm was thriving in the 1930s. Early jazz was also presented at hotels and other concert venues.

Artie Matthews

1931 - Dr. Artie Matthews was a classically trained musician who published the noted ragtime compositions "Pastime Rags" in St. Louis. He relocated to Cincinnati where he founded the African-American "Cosmopolitan School of Music" during the era of segregation when Blacks were not accepted into the Conservatory or College of Music here. Many Cincinnati musicians learned under his tutelage. Mr. Matthews eschewed jazz in favor of classical music in his later years.

Read HERE about Dr. Artie Matthews.

 

Fats Waller

Check out the 11:45am slot in the first column. Mr. Thomas "Fats" Waller was resident musician at radio station WLW in Cincinnati. This clipping is from December 1, 1932. He was a virtuoso and one of the giants of stride piano and early jazz, who achieved great popularity as an entertainer.

 

empress

February 15, 1931

 

greystone duke

September 9, 1931

Whiteman

September 29, 1930

cotton club

January 4, 1939

cotton club

December 12, 1939

Duke

January 10, 1939

Kelly's

March 27, 1938

1940s

Local, touring national acts, and territory bands performed in the Cincinnati area in the 1940s. Coney Island's Moonlight Gardens, the Taft Theater and Castle Farm were among the venues that presented them.

The reader may find, at times, that some of the writing in the articles is shallow - that there is only a superficial sense of what is going on artistically and that much cliche is used to describe the music by writers who lack the sophistication to discuss the genre.

Fuzzy
fuzzy

1943 - 1944 -- George "Fuzzy" Ballard was a tenor and clarinet player before my time, although I did play with him one time at Arnold's near the end of his life. He was a player that prominent local saxophonist Jimmy McGary admired.

   

stuff smith

July 1940

Basie

July 18, 1940

kenton

May 5, 1948

duke

December 5, 1948

diz

November 14, 1948

diz

granz\

October 15, 1949

Duke

April 8, 1949

lucky

March 23, 1948

topper

March 14, 1948

Castle Farm

Located at the intersection of Summit and Edgemont in Roselawn, Castle Farm presented first rate music from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. It offered dining and big band dancing in the central Cincinnati suburbs. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played 12 different engagements there, starting with one of a week long duration in August 1932 and concluding with a one-nighter on Saturday, December 1, 1962. Bandleader Andy Kirk, a Newport, KY native, played there many times over the years. Kenton, Basie, James, Shaw, Goodman - all of the top national big bands and territory bands made stops at Castle Farm.

 

castle

March 17, 1935

castle

May 13, 1938

castle

July 1939

Kirkkirk

Listen

June 14, 1941

Kirk

castle

February 7, 1942

castle

May 30, 1942

castle

May 29, 1943

castle

June 5, 1943

castle

October 23, 1943

Carter

December 18, 1943

castlebenny

October 20, 1945

benny

lionel

December 9, 1944

castle

May 5, 1951

castle

November 11, 1952

castle

May 5, 1956

castle

December 14, 1957

castle

March 26, 1960

castle duke

January 13, 1962

Duke

Jazz clipping

March 31, 1962

castle

March 30, 1963

1950s

The 1950s saw the beginning activity of longtime and well-known Cincinnati jazz musicians such as Dee Felice, Elwood "Woody" Evans, Judy James, Popeye Maupin, and Shirley Jester, among many others. There was much club action, especially at Babe Baker's on Reading Road, Herb Kirschner's Piano Lounge, and clubs and venues in Newport, KY like the Copa Club, which brought in top national acts. The Taft Theater and Castle Farm were the primary venues for national jazz acts in Cincinnati, including Norman Granz's "Jazz at the Philharmonic" series of concerts.

During the days of segregation, Cincinnati Music Hall Ballroom operated under 2 different names: The Topper Club, its entrance on Elm Street, catered to a white clientele; The Greystone Ballroom, its entrance on Central Parkway, catered to Blacks. It was the same room. Cincinnati also had two different Musicians Union locals, one for whites and one for Blacks.

Do you want to see more of the 1950s in Cincinnati jazz? Head on over to the Annex.

 

Shearing

June 16, 1951

 

tatum

June 21, 1951

tatum tatum

 

JATP

October 3, 1952

JATP

October 10, 1954

 

herm

November, 1958

Jazz clipping

October, 1955

jazz clippings

June 1, 1957

herm

November 1957

jazz clipping

June 1, 1957

Jordan

Quartet of Freddie Jordan - guitar, Elwood Evans - piano, Edison Gore - drums, Ed Conley - bass.

 

jordan

August 5, 1955

21

July 28, 1958

french lick

August, 1958

 

busy

June 16, 1954

Jester

October 15, 1959

 

blue ange;

March 29, 1959

Ill Jacquet

September 11, 1959

Popeye

March 21, 1959

Beletto

Listen

December 23, 1959

shirley

April 25, 1958

chico

April 27, 1959

 

chico

Note: The article mentions Eric Dolphy, who was a member of this group and who appeared on its recordings, but it is not he who is pictured in photo at left.

bostic

August 15, 1954

bostic

March 29, 1959

miles

February 5, 1959

copa

July 31, 1959

Club Ebony sarah

March 17, 1954

club ebony

January 24, 1954

blakey

June 19, 1959

doggett

May 21, 1956

ahmad

May 4, 1959

erroll

November 21, 1958

BABE BAKER'S JAZZ CORNER

One of the best and most authentic jazz clubs in Cincinnati in the late-50s and 60s was the legendary Babe Baker's on Reading Road. John Coltrane Quartet, Lester Young and Miles Davis were among its many noted perfomers, as were Cincinnati's own noted Modern Jazz Disciples. Local tenor legend Jimmy McGary played there, with Ed Moss leading a house trio for a time. Edward "Babe" Baker (1916-2005) had also been a jazz DJ on WSAI prior to opening his club and was a successful businessman and entrepreneur whose businesses suffered during the aftermath of the riots of 1968.

 

babe

August 7, 1954

babe

December 30, 1953

babe

November 11, 1958

babe

babe

April 20, 1959

babe

June 29, 1959

babe

June 8, 1959

babe

July 16, 1959

babe

May 10, 1959

babe

June 23, 1959

babe

February 22, 1960

babe

March 12, 1961

babe

May 22, 1960

babe

December 31, 1962

babe

November 30, 1962

babe

November 18, 1962

babe

January 7, 1963

babe

August 28, 1970

babe

September 9, 1970

1960s

The 1960s were the peak of jazz activity in Cincinnati, with many local musicians thriving (including Elwood Evans, The Modern Jazz Disciples led by Curtis Peagler, Lee Stolar, John Wright, Wilbert Longmire, Dee Felice, Jimmy McGary, Ed Moss, and many more). National acts came through with regularity and the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival began in 1962, first at the Carthage Fairgrounds and then at Crosley Field. This wealth of jazz continued throughout the decade. The Surf Club at Western Bowl on the west side of town had an amazing run and hosted great jazz in 1962. The Living Room had a steady flow of name national acts. Babe Baker's continued to bring in the biggest names in contemporary modern jazz. Radio station WNOP, with its dawn-to-dusk license, kept jazz over the air waves to keep locals abreast of the happenings.

For even more clippings visit the new 1960s ANNEX.

slide

March 25, 1960

slide

 

basie

February 22, 1962

count

April 16, 1960

count

pearl

June 4, 1962

Jazz clipping

October 28, 1962

Mulligan

October 12, 1960

fest

February 9, 1964

 

mothers

December 31, 1960

mothers

September 8, 1960

frank

May 31, 1960

cab

March 4, 1960

Broach

Killer trio in early 60's. Played all over the place. The Real Legends nobody talks about, James Jamaal Halbert, Wilbert Longmire and Stanley Broach Sr. cir. 1961.  

-from Melvin Broach

 

The Ornette Coleman Gig That Never Was

A news article previewed the concert with the expectation of innovative concepts and praised Encore Productions for presenting it.

An eyewitness has reported to me that a portion of the Ornette Coleman Double Quartet had arrived while other members were delayed. There were about 20 people already waiting for the show when the cancellation was announced. Ornette was overheard asking someone if there was anything going on anywhere in Cincinnati that night where he could go play but, as it was a Monday, no one knew of anything.

The "Free Jazz" LP by the Ornette Coleman Double Quartet was revolutionary ,The band consisted of: (quartet #1) Ornette Coleman - alto sax, Don Cherry - pocket trumpet, Scott LaFaro - bass, Billy Higgins - drums;(quartet #2) Eric Dolphy - bass clarinet, Freddie Hubbard - trumpet, Charlie Haden - bass, Ed Blackwell - drums. I am sure that there were many disappointed afficionados!

ornette

ornette

ornette

November 17, 1961

ornette

November 18, 1961

 

 

THE SURF CLUB

The Surf Club, located at the unlikely scene of the Western Bowl bowling alleys in Western Hills on Glenway Ave., became a vibrant venue for jazz, comedy and other acts in 1962. It had a popular "Jazz On A Sunday Afternoon" series that featured an array of national jazz names, as well as, top local performers including, The Modern Jazz Disciples, Dee Felice Trio, Judy James, Popeye Maupin, Bud Hunt Sextet, Bill Walters Trio and Big Band, Francine Griffin, Monte Tabbert's Queen City Jazz Band, and Jimmy Jamal. Comedian Jack Clements, also a WNOP personality, was often featured.

National acts included Sarah Vaughan, Mark Murphy, Barbara Carroll, Peter Nero, Dizzy Gillespie, and the up and coming Smothers Brothers.

It is interesting to note that local jazz standouts, drummer Dee Felice (Emidio DeFelice), bassist Alex Cirin, and trumpeter Bill Berry were all westsiders and graduates of the nearby Western Hills High School in years recently preceeding the Surf Club era.


 

Jazz clipping

Listen

January 14, 1962

surf

January 28, 1962

bud

February 11, 1962

surf

February 18, 1962

surf

February 24, 1962

bud

March 8, 1962

jazz clipping

March 11, 1962

jazz clipping

Jazz clipping

Listen

March 25, 1962

surf

April, 1962

sarah

May 19, 1962

surf

September 25, 1962

surf

September 30, 1962

surf

November 18, 1962

Stan

January 15, 1963

stan

 

7 Cities

December 11, 1962

wnop

December 18, 1962

 

THE OHIO VALLEY JAZZ FESTIVAL

Beginning in 1962 the annual Ohio Valley Jazz Festival was the biggest local jazz happening, featuring international, national and local jazz luminaries, first at the Carthage Fairgrounds (site of the Carthage and Hamilton County Fairs), then at Crosley Field (former longtime home of the Cincinnati Reds), and finally at Riverfront Stadium, the multi-use facility that was home to both the Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals.

At its inception, it was a purely jazz event that satisfied those who were aficionados of jazz in all of its early and contemporary forms. Later it transformed to an R&B and Pop festival, but still retained the name "Jazz Festival" (sponsored by Cool cigarettes to became the "Cool Jazz Festival"). This was much to the dismay and chagrin of true jazz fans who lamented the transformation. Still, it was an important cultural event for fans of R&B, funk and pop and drew thousands from all over the country to hear Patti LaBelle, Kool & the Gang, Ike & Tina Turner and other major acts.

jazz clipping

August 1962

jazz fest 63 jfest

August, 1963

jazz fest 8 23 63

August 1963

jazz clipping

August, 1964

Jazz clipping

August, 1965

Jazz clipping

August, 1966

j fest 67

August 1967

cannon

August 1967

jazz fest 68

August 1968

burton

August 1968

jazz fest 69

August 1969

Music Hall

September 30, 1966

Moss '64

October 19, 1964

Jackie Paris

October 28, 1960

Hartman

September 30, 1965

mjq

March 16, 1961

Coorey

May, 1964

Jack Doll

July 29, 1967

Jonah Jones

September 9, 1962

THE LIVING ROOM

Located at 609 Walnut downtown, between 6th and 7th streets (in the current 21c Museum Hotel building), The Living Room presented top shelf national jazz acts on a regular basis, one of the last Cincinnati clubs to do so. Longtime Cincinnati jazz bassist Lou Lausche has said that owner Mel Herman was "a good guy, a good club owner". Just peruse the newspaper ads below to see some of the great jazz names he presented from 1965 until 1969.


cozy

October 28, 1965

Ramsey

February 10, 1968

ahmad

February 12, 1967

duke

March 1

Dizzy

February 28, 1967

Living Room

May 1, 1967

Living room

May, 1967

jimmy smith

May 19-20, 1967

Krupa

June 16, 1967

krupa

Ambrose

 

hampton

July 31, 1967

jazz clipping jazz

August, 1967

   

Duke

September, 1967

jazz clipping

October, 1967

oscar p

May 3, 1968

Hugh M

May 15, 1968

Ramsey

July 16, 1969

MJQ

July 1969

mjq

June 16, 1969

 

Kenton

October 15, 1969

Kenton

jazz clipping

November 19, 1969

 

Jazz clipping

Jazz Clipping

July 21, 1966

 

woody evans

August 13, 1964

moss

June 4, 1966

jazz clipping

October 15, 1967

 

Listing to the right from 1969 has many musicians with whom I am familiar, including:

Bob Poe
Lee Stolar Trio
Sound Museum
Jerry Conrad's Rhythm & Brass
Billie Walker
Lynne Scott
Shirley Jester
Dave Engle Trio
Fran Wald
Jimmy Evans
George Coorey
Gary Rossi
Oliver & Reynolds

Wow! That's a lot of gigs! Others may recognize more names.

 

jazz clippings

August 10, 1969

Woody evans

March 1967

Penthouse

March 1, 1964

 

 

OT

March 16, 1968

Shirley

October 16, 1966

jazz clipping

October 11, 1968

E. Harris

jazz clipping

September 25, 1969

Lloyd

Lloyd

April 7, 1968

Herbie's/Roberts Neoteric Lounge

Two incarnations of jazz clubs at the same Walnut Hills location. I remember seeing Popeye Maupin with Fred Hersch - piano, Lee Tucker - bass, and Larry Brown - drums there in the early 70s. On one occasion I saw the great Bobby Miller on tenor. Just a perfect small jazz club.

Herbie's

December 3, 1967

Herbie's

In 2017 at Taft & Hackberry

Herbie's

August 14, 1970

wright

December 8, 1967

Herbie's

October 26, 1969

 

 

3 Sounds

Herbie's

September 25, 1969

 

woody

May 19, 1967

carmon

September 1, 1968

1970s

Jazz activity precipitiously declined in the 1970s, as compared to the 1960s in Cincinnati. Venues which had presented touring jazz stars closed down, with the exception of the Viking Lounge on Vine St. across from the Cincinnati Zoo, which continued until closing down in the mid-70. Ed Moss' series of clubs - The Golden Triangle Coffeehouse, Emanon, and Mozart's Ristorante - continued to present vibrant, pure jazz. However, the most dedicated and committed local pro players persisted in finding and creating jazz gigs, while sometimes playing pop music in order to survive financially. The tastes of the general public had swayed toward rock 'n roll and jazz became less viable as a commercial music. It became more underground and Bohemian but still existed.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club began its jazz policy in 1978 and spurred a resurgence that continued through the club's 35 year lifetime at four separate locations.

 

Read a very fine 1975 article by Bill Steigerwald in the Cincinnati Enquirer Magazine titled "Jazz! Here and Now" HERE

Jazz clipping

April 2, 1971

Jazz clipping

December 30, 1971

Act 4

December 7, 1971

wilbert

May 1970

Fuzzy Ballard

1973

Soho

Listen

November 11. 1972

dee

1970s

A printer's plate for a newspaper ad. Dee Felice and The Music Co. at the Buccaneer Inn on Reading Rd.

jazz clippings

August 21, 1976

Wayne

November 28, 1975

caffey

April 20, 1972

 

thad & mel

January 26, 1975

Pharoah

January 3, 1974

Oscar Gamby

August 15, 1975

eddie harris

May 19, 1975

McDuff

May 24, 1973

McCoy

April 3, 1974

 

lookout

December 3, 1970

lee

November 14, 1970

 

Moss

November 30, 1974

Moss

Christmas 1974

Cohesion

January 7, 1974

miles

February 7, 1974

Ruby

May 11, 1977

Lee S

September 5, 1970

chase

November 21, 1972

 

Britt Robson's 1978 article in Focus Magazine describes the early days of the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in O'Bryonville. Click HERE to read.

1980s

Jazz in Cincinnati experienced a renaissance of sorts with consistent activity at Emanon, Edwards Manufacturing Company, Bentleys, Dee Felice Cafe, Arnold's, Vernon Manor, Cory's, The Hyatt Regency, Dollar Bill's and a variety of other venues that came and went.

Read full article by Steve Kemme on "State of Jazz" in Cincinnati in 1982 HERE. Includes focus upon Cal Collins, Jimmy McGary, Jim Anderson, Dee Felice and Ed Moss.

 

berg

April 18, 1986

cedar

September 19, 1985

alex

August 14, 1980

jazz eddie

nave

July 1, 1987

greenwich

January 9, 1986

huck

April 19, 1988

jimmy

March 18, 1982

Wayne

March 5, 1981

sonny fortune

March 7-8, 1986

dexter

February 18, 1981

edwards

January 14, 1980

steve

September 13, 1981

wisp

September 10, 1981

 

jimmy

February 3, 1986

jimmy

November 22, 1987