Tuesday, December 31, 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES - January 13, 1957

On January 13, 1957 George A. Borgman, music teacher at the Pershing County High School in Lovelock, Nevada, attended the state meeting of the Nevada Music Educators Association in Tonpah, Nevada.

In a months time he will be married to a fellow Lovelock, Nevada teacher Janet C. Ferroli.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mainly Morton - Geoff Cole's Red Hot Seven CD Review - George A. Borgman

Bill Bissonnette is the producer of this fine recording by British musicians brought together by trombonist Geoff Cole to perform tunes that were either written by Jelly Roll Morton, played by his Hot Five or are performed here in the style of the Hot Five.

Cole is one of the better trombone players to grace the world today. Alan Elsdon has no peers on the trumpet and Tony Pyke is splendid on his solos and leads on the clarinet and alto saxophone. What a front line!

And the rhythm section is just as good. Pat Hawes is a gem on the piano, especially when he is accompanying the soloists on the front line.

This is, no doubt, one of the better recordings to be released on the Jazz Crusade label and it is most certainly recommended for anyone interested in music that was associated with the great Jelly Roll Morton. - George A. Borgman, IAJRC Journal

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Louis Nelson/Alton Purnell with Dave Brennan's Jazzmen CD Review - George A. Borgman

Two famous New Orleans jazz musicians are featured on this recording. The common denominator between the two sessions is the group known as Dave Brennan's Jazz Band. They support well both Nelson & Purnell, who do not play together on any of the tunes.

The Nelson renditions are a bit disappointing, not because of his playing, which is exceptional on many of his solos, but in the poor balance due to the misplacement of one or more mikes. Since Nelson is being featured, his trombone is louder than the other instruments, even when he is playing accompaniment to someone else's solo or melodic lead. Over There, that great George M. Cohan tune from World War I, is performed very well by Nelson and the group who give it a jazz flavor.

Purnell displays a great left hand on Alton's Boogie and he takes an exceptional solo on the Original Dixie Jass Band One-Step. He and the frontliners provide excellent accompaniment to his vocal on I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket. He sings splendidly on I Want A Little Girl. The audio balance on the Purnel tracks is much better than that on Nelson's.

This recording, especially the Alton Purnel renditions is mostly for fans of jazz that was performed in New Orleans in the early 1970s.  - George A. Borgman, IAJRC Journal

I'm Putting All My Eggs Into One Basket - Alton Purnell, Rotherham, England November, 24 1974

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Memories of a Jazz Journalist - Part Four - Cellist Bob Ripley

Here George A. Borgman briefly remembers his 1996 interview with cellist Bob Ripley, who incidentally, lived only a few streets over from him in Massachusetts.


I interviewed Bob Ripley at my house. Ripley spent nine years with the Cleveland Symphony in addition to 40 years with the Boston Symphony. He played cello. During World War II he was in Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps Band, both in the United States and England. He provided me with priceless information concerning the Miller band and Miller's disappearance.

I have a two-CD set of some of the lost Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Orchestra recordings which Bob Ripley played cello on, when the band recorded in England. It was a great interview. I used bits of it for my column in The Mississippi Rag and for a longer story in Joslin's Jazz Journal.

Bob Ripley plays on this recording of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 
recorded in England in November 1944.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Joseph F. Lamb Biography References George A. Borgman's Work

George A. Borgman's article "Joseph F. Lamb, Classic Ragtimer, Part 1," which was published in the August 2001 Mississippi Rag was referenced in the 2012 biography Joseph F. Lamb: A Passion for Ragtimeby Carol J. Binkowski.
Joseph F. Lamb was a noted ragtime composer who lived from 1887 to 1960. He is considered one of the three "big" ragtime composers along with Scott Joplin and James Scott. Here is Lamb's 1919 composition Bohemia as played by Florian Krüger.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Man in the Movie - A Behind-the-Scenes Look

George A. Borgman was given two prominent roles in his son Eric's first feature film The Man in the Movie.

The Man in the Movie is a comedy about a nerdy librarian who discovers silent comedies at a Silent Comedy Film Festival and discovers that one of the silent comedians looks very familiar to him.

George played an annoyed theater goer and a silent comedy "heavy."

Here is behind-the-scenes footage that George video taped during one of his scenes at the movie theater.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

George A. Borgman's Great Great Uncle, Robert J. Rhodes

George A. Borgman had several family members who took part in the Civil War on both sides. His great great grandfather Frank Borgman served in two regiments for the Union. However several more served in the Confederacy.

Robert J. Rhodes was one of those relatives. He was the brother of Texana Rhodes who was George's great grandmother.

Card with all the engagements he participated in on back.
Rhodes was born on August 11, 1844 in Fayette Co., Tennessee. He joined Capt. C. S. Shulyer's Company E, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment commanded by General Nathan Bedford Forrest on March 12, 1862 and was sworn in at the Reid Hotel in Southern Somerville, Tennessee.

He married Martha Neville on April 15, 1865 and had at least two children a boy and a girl.

For the rest of his life he was interested in the history of the Civil War and only missed one regimental reunion. He worked, one year, as a census collector for a special Civil War veterans census.

In 1908, Rhodes went traveling to one of his Confederate Veteran's reunions and visited a house, now known as Pope's Tavern in Florence, Alabama where he and several of his Confederates were treated for battle injuries over 40 years before.

After arriving home he wrote a letter to the Lambeth family who showed him around their house.
Robert J. Rhodes in later life.

"Many thanks to you for your kindness to me the few minutes I spent with you in your home on my return from (the) reunion. I've often asked myself the question if after 45 years of time had rolled around with so many changes, would I be welcome to enter and look at the house where I spent many sleepless nights watching and waiting on many of my comrades. Again, I want to thank you for I believe I was welcome and I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer with you good people."

The original letter is now on display at the Pope's Tavern museum. Read an article 150 Years Later: Pope's Tavern Among Civil War Sites by Sarah Carlson.

Rhodes was an avid reader of the Confederate Veteran Magazine and even wrote for it. Here is a sample of one of his musings.



Comrades, when I begin to think of what I should be thankful for, I am
overwhelmed, and then think of the things for which I am not thankful.
The good Lord in his loving-kindness has gently led me through life. I
don't know the taste of that awful enemy to mankind, whisky; neither
that of coffee nor tobacco. Yes, I am thankful that I am at peace with
our Heavenly Father. I served thirty-two months in the cruel war under
General Forrest. In one of our charges in the battle of Iuka, Miss.,
my horse threw me. Our captain, Rufus Brooks, was wounded and
captured with others. I am thankful that the enemy thought I was dead
and left me on the field, so I was never a prisoner. To all comrades
who wore the gray and the blue I am thankful to have a heart full of
good wishes." 

Robert J. Rhodes died in winter on February 29, 1916 in Whitesville, Tennessee. His obituary was dutifully printed in his favorite publication Confederate Veteran.

"ROBERT J. RHODES, one of the most prominent men of Whiteville, Tenn., and an honored Confederate veteran, passed into eternal rest February 29, 1916.

Mr. Rhodes was born in Fayette County August 11, 1844, and was married to Miss Martha Neville  April 15, 1865. He leaves this loyal, noble wife, a devoted daughter, Mrs. Rhodes of Hot Springs, Ark., and a faithful son, Festers Rhodes, cashier of the People's Bank, Whiteville, Tenn.

At the age of seventeen Robert Rhodes enlisted with Capt. C. S. Schuyler, Company E, Forrest's old regiment, at New Castle, March 12, 1862. Soon after he was sworn into service and fought faithfully and bravely throughout the war. A faithful Confederate to the end, he missed but one Reunion in his life. He loved the gray and treasured the small bronze cross. He was ever thoughtful of the old veterans and in many ways added to their happiness. At any public meeting it was his pleasure to have his old comrades share the very best. He loved to entertain them. He was a patriot; he loved his country; he loved his state; he loved his kind.

Clad in his gray uniform and resting in a casket of gray, the "clay tenement" of the grand old Christian soldier was lowered by loving hands into the bosom of mother earth, there to await the glorious dawn of the resurrection morn."

Rhodes was laid to rest at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Fayette Co., Tennessee where his prominent gravestone can still be seen. His wife Martha passed away June 14, 1932.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Composer - Billie Brown (1894 - 1921)

Composer Billie Brown was thought to have been 18 years old when she died of Smallpox in December 4, 1921. In reality she was about 26 years old the fact that she was an accomplished composer and had a total of seven tunes published (two of them posthumously) was still a feat.

Published posthumously. 
Her tunes ranging from ballads to ragtime were successful at the time of their publication. Billie Brown appears to have been the adopted daughter of William and Anna (Welker) Brown. According to census data she was listed as being born in June of 1894 as Irene Anderson her father being born in Sweden. Her adoptive father William Brown was a saloon keeper.

Over the years her named changed to Willie Anderson and then to Billie Brown. With the help of her mother writing the lyrics to her compositions her music began being published in 1915 with her first known piece called Aloha Oe (Variations).

Further tunes were published including one by her mother Anna Brown, Shower of Kisses (1915) in which Billie did the arranging. Two version of one called The Star and the Rose published in 1918 & 1919, and Dangerous Blues in 1921.


In 1921 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded Dangerous Blues along with several other performers including Eubie Blake and Mamie Smith.

After her death a few pieces were published posthumously including the popular Lonesome Mama Blues in 1922.

Lullaby Moon (1922) and What's on Your Mind (1924) were the only other tunes published under her name.

Follow this link for more information on Bille Brown's short life.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Neville Dickie at the Sherborn Inn, Sherborn, Massachusetts

Neville Dickie
Famed British stride piano player Neville Dickie appeared for the 12th year in a row at the Sherborn Inn last night, joining members of Stan McDonald's Blue Horizon Jazz Band for some high caliber Classic jazz!

Dickie played solo piano several times backed by drummer Dave Bragdon as well as being joined on and off by Stan McDonald on soprano sax and Jeff Hughes on cornet.
Ross Petot
Ross Petot played piano through the intermission, where he was briefly joined by Dickie on one number. Petot played several tunes with the band as well during the second set.

Nagasaki was played by Dickie upon request and proved to be quite popular as did his Boogie-Woogie tunes which he is noted for.
Dave Bragdon
Stan McDonald
Bragdon gave Dickie a run for his money on a couple of tunes especially Nagasaki where he kept up with Dickie's increasing speed. Tunes by Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie the Lion Smith were all on display. Dickie played Smith's tune Finger Buster with alacrity and Stan McDonald and the band played Morton's Tijuana to great effect.
Jeff Hughes
One member of the audience, Freddy, who was celebrating his 70th birthday, got up to sing Somebody Stole My Gal, which he did with gusto while using a couple of different voices!

Stan and Neville swing!
The venue appeared to be quite popular to the full house who applauded and cheered throughout the performances. Neville Dickie told some jokes and kidded with longtime audience members including George A. Borgman's widow Janet. He announced to the audience that George was once asked to write 6 pages of liner notes for his CD Any Time and that George turned in 28! He claimed the booklet was so big it was hard to slide inside the case. The actual number in the booklet is 15.
Neville Dickie and Janet Borgman
Dave and Neville after the performance.
Ross Petot and Janet Borgman
Neville introduces Ross!
Janet and Stan chat after the show.
Check out Marce Enright's Posting of this event at her New England Traditional Jazz Plus.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memories of a Jazz Journalist - Part Three - Mark Shane

Here is a continuation of the series of entries from George A. Borgman's article Memories of a Jazz Journalist from 2004.
Pianist Mark Shane (New York) broke me up with his story about playing for a dance at a New Hampshire estate, where the dancers and the bandleader ran outdoors, stripped naked, and jumped into the pool while the bandsmen, even though distracted, played on.

Mark Shane has a couple of piano influences that he acknowledges. His primary one is Teddy Wilson although when he plays solo piano he admits that Art Tatem is also up there. Shane started his career playing in dance bands in the New York City area. he has played with a slew of well known jazz and big band artists including Benny Goodman, Doc Cheatham, Wild Bill Davison, Bob Wilbur, Kenny Davern, Peanuts Hucko, and Scott Hamilton among others. He's also performed for the soundtracks of several feature films including The Cotton Club, Working Girl and Biloxi Blues. He has collaborated on several albums with singer Terry Blaine.

Here he plays at Birdland, on March 4, 2009

Friday, April 26, 2013

Memories of a Jazz Journalist - Part Two - Buzzy Drootin

Here is a continuation of the new series of entries that come from an article that George wrote in 2004.

Drummer Buzzy Drootin (Braintree, MA), one of the most amusing characters I've ever met, didn't want me to mention in my story that he had told me that several of his jazz all-star colleagues were addicted to alcohol or drugs. When I told Buzzy that they were all dead, he said, "I know, but I don't want people to know I've been talking about them."

Benjamin "Buzzy" Drootin, whose family was Jewish, was born in Kiev, Ukraine on April 22, 1920. The family emigrated to the United States and settled in Boston, Massachusetts when he was five.

His family was musical, his father played the clarinet and both of his brothers also played instruments. Buzzy began playing the drums professionally as a teenager and for the next fifty years would play with some of the leading jazz musicians in America.

Jess Stacy
In the beginning though, he earned cash working in bars. He began touring  with the Jess Stacy All-Stars when he was about twenty. After the war he worked as the house drummer at Eddie Condon's in New York from 1947 until 1951.

Wingy Manone
Over the years in the 1950's and 1960's he worked in clubs in Chicago and Boston and played with musicians such as Jimmy McPartland, Doc Cheatham, and Wingy Manone. He also recorded with Tommy Dorsey, Bobby Hackett and the Dukes of Dixieland. Other musicians he played with were Chuck Hedges and Wild Bill Davison.

In 1973, after touring Europe and the States, he and his brother Al formed the Drootin Brothers Jazz Band. He played at the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival in the 1980's.

George A. Borgman interviewed Buzzy and wrote a story on him that was published in The Mississippi Rag.

He died, from cancer, on May 21, 2000, at the age of eighty at the Actors Fund Retirement and Nursing Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He had a daughter, Natasha and two sons, Peter and Tony.

Here Buzzy Drooton plays with the Wild Bill Davison All Stars in 1984 in Malmo, Sweden.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Look at Scott Yanow's New Book!

A new book by Scott Yanow has been released that focuses exclusively on jazz guitarists. It's entitled The Great Jazz Guitarists, The Ultimate Guide. If you are a jazz fan, as I am, you should find this book an excellent resource. Yanow has written ten previous books and an incredible amount of other jazz related writings. He knows his stuff. Calling the book The Great Jazz Guitarists, your favorite local jazz guitarist might not be included, but, a very large amount of guitarists actually are. Even ones from abroad like Lino Patruno of Italy.

The book contains several guitarists that George A. Borgman knew, interviewed or wrote about including Al Casey, Marty Grosz, Gray Sargent, and Bucky Pizzarelli.

My personal favorite jazz is early to Swing, when it gets to bee-bop I kind of lose interest, however, this book has all the best from every era. Some of the ones from my favorite era are Eddie Condon, Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang and Dick McDonough. I'm a little surprised I couldn't find Johnny St. Cyr, however, who doesn't seem to have made the list.

The book starts off with an interesting and well written "Introduction" then comes the main section which lists "342 Great Jazz Guitarists" in alphabetical order. The entries are concise but contain a great deal of information. As Yanow did in his book Classic Jazz: The Musicians and Recordings That Shaped Jazz, 1895-1933, he has some CD and record recommendations to search for at the end of each entry.

The next section lists "44 Other Historic Guitarists" then after this is "175 Other Jazz Guitarists on the Scene Today." Amazingly there's another section called, "They Also Played Jazz Guitar" which includes a variety of musicians who have at some time actually played jazz guitar, such as rocker Peter Frampton, cornet player Bobby Hacket and trumpeter Oscar Klein!

But wait! There's more! "Jazz Guitarists on Film" gives a good sized list of DVDs, a few VHS tapes and even the 10 best performances on film and "Best Ghosting by a Jazz Guitarist." The book ends with a listing of other people's books on jazz guitarists.

The book contains a lot of jazz guitarists, both living and dead, many of whom I have never heard of and a few that I plan to seek out. All around a pretty excellent book.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yankee Jazz Beat: George A. Borgman's Jazz Journal

It is hoped that Yankee Jazz Beat: George A. Borgman's Jazz Journal will be the first book to be published utilizing George A. Borgman's extensive writings on music and jazz.

The GAB Archives is currently selecting and editing the materials to be used in this volume, which may end up being a muliple volume set.

The writings that are hoped to be included range from published material to  private letters, journals and interviews. The first entries will be from the 1980s. The collection will be centered on his jazz writings but will also include some jottings on music and his daily life as well.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

From the Files: Clarinetist Pete Peligian

George A. Borgman has left a rather large collection of materials. For almost every article he wrote on a band or musician, over the years, there was a band or person that he had hoped to write about but never did.

The reasons for an article not coming to fruition were many. Sometimes, a time for a face to face interview couldn't easily be worked out, an article candidate passed away, none of the journals he wrote for were interested in the story, or just the lack of time due to his large work load.

However, with some people for whom he intended to interview, he would begin to write an article with what he had and then would fill it out later after an interview or more research. Here is one of those short prepatory articles from the George A. Borgman Archives files on Rhode Island clarinet player Peter (Pete) Peligian that was recently discovered.


By George A. Borgman 

  Peter Peligian is a fine jazz clarinet player from Rhode Island, but, on at least one occasion, he was the special guest of cornetist Jeff Hughes' Lost in the Sauce, a quintet, at the Sherborn Inn in Sherborn, Mass.

Early Life

  Peter (Pete) Peligian was born in Providence, R.I., on March 20, 1924.
  Peligian, mostly self-taught on the clarinet, was influenced by early jazz recordings and radio broadcasts.

Becomes Professional Musician

  For many years, Peligian was a member of the Jewels of Dixie. In 1951, he replaced clarinetist Pete Colaluca, who led his own group, when Colaluca moved to Connecticut and trumpeter Tony Tomasso took over the band. For most of the 1950s, the group performed steady engagements at the Village Rendezvous, the Green Orchard and the Governor Dyers. During a 13-week engagement in the Jewel Room of the Bostonian Hotel, that band adopted the name of Jewels of Dixie, a name first used by the Boston Daily Record's George Clark in his glowing review of the band's performance. 

Louis Armstrong
    At the Green Orchard, Louis Armstrong borrowed Tomasso's horn to sit in with the Jewels of Dixie. In addition to Peligian, the other players in the Jewels of Dixie were trombonist Zolman M. (Porky) Cohen, who joined the group in about 1955 and later was replaced by Len Olivieri; pianist Eddie Soares; and drummer Ray Cerce.   
  In ensuing years the Jewels of Dixie had several long stints at the Village Rendezvous, Governor Dyers, Bovi's Town Tavern, the Top of the Court, the Charles Pub, The Helm,  Christy's, and the Warehouse Tavern.
  Peligian performed at the Newport Jazz Festival with the Jewels of Dixie in the mid-1950s. In 1962, the Jewels opened the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, R.I., with a performance that won critical acclaim.

  Peligian also played periodic gigs with Balaban and Cats at Condon's in New York City from 1979 to 1984.

Bobby Hackett
  In 1983, Peligian played with Bobby Hackett, Red Balaban, Ed Hubble, and Red Edwards at the Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp in Martinsville, N.J.
  Peligian’s career includes performances with Doc Cheatham, Ed Hubble and Vic Dickenson at memorial concerts for Bobby Hackett, and at jazz concerts held at Brown University. Throughout his career, he has performed at numerous other concerts, club dates and one nighters, playing with such artists as pianist Dave McKenna, tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, and cornetist Warren Vaché, among others.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Memories of a Jazz Journalist - Part One

A new series of entries will come from an article that George wrote in 2004.

As a contributing editor to The Mississippi Rag since 1992, I have written more than 30 in-depth stories about musicians and bands in New England, New York City, Upstate New York, Canada, England, and Paris. Here I mention only a few of the amusing and interesting interviews.

One of the first interviews was of John Sheehan (Millis, MA) about his excellent Heritage Jazz Band, now defunct. John, who has a wonderful Irish sense of humor, led the band from his drum set, and he told me, "Good drummers are called 'Sticks.' I was known as 'Twigs.'"

John F. Sheehan was born in Framingham, Massachusetts on March 12, 1927. He served in the Navy during World War II and later attended Tufts University. He then was a minor league pitcher for the New York Giants.

He was the band leader and drummer of the Heritage Jazz Band which played in the Dixieland style.

One interesting incident which showed how well he was liked happened because Sheehan was ill at the Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, Massachusetts in October 1981. On Sunday, November 2nd at the Stickey Wicket Pub in Hopkinton, the his band often played, his fellow jazz musicians put on a Hospital Rent Party! Dave Whitney, members of the Heritage Jazz Band, Stan McDonald and his Blue Horizon Jazz Band, East Bay City as well as the New Black Eagle Jazz Band all played up a storm for about two hours from 12:00 - 2:00 PM.

Sheehan died at the age of seventy-seven on June 1, 2004 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Brockton.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Baby, Won't You Please Come Home - Jack Staulcup and His Orchestra - 1950

Jack Staulcup
Here is a 1950 recording in which George A. Borgman was one of the saxophone players on it. We hear Jack Staulcup and His Orchestra, "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home," from an Oriole Records session. It was recorded in the Summer 1950, in Chicago, Illinois.