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If this is your first visit, welcome to my blog of memories and observations. If you wish to be notified of new posts, enter an e-mail address above, and click on "Submit." As we move through a seventh year of this venture, I thank all who have made regular visits, as well as fellow bloggers who have found Stomp Off worth linking to. Doing this sort of thing is time-consuming, but I try to post fresh material at least once a week—let me know what you think. There is a Commentary option at the end of each post and a Guest Book can be reached by scrolling down and clicking on the quill image. I welcome your observations, reaction and/or suggestions in either spot—or both. As for blog content, the most current posts are on the home page, starting at the top. Earlier items are listed by month, year and title in the archive index. To zero in on a particular key word or subject, use the search option that is located directly beneath the blog's masthead. Most images can be enlarged with a mouse click, and there are links to some of my favorite blogs, etc. Since visitors have come from 150 countries, a translator with numerous languages is located below. You can at any time revert to English with a click at the top left of this page:

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2/20/12

Sam Wooding II: Post WWI Harlem


You may not be familiar with Sam Wooding or his music, but he was an important part of jazz history, as you will realize if you listen to his recollections. This is the second of a five-part interview Sam and I did for the Smithsonian during April of 1975. In Part I, he reminisced about about his childhood, growing up in Philadelphia and spending time in Atlantic City, a place where many pioneers of black American music worked at the beginning of the 20th century.

December 3, 1924 advertisement. Sam Wooding's
band replaced Fletcher Henderson at the Alabam.
Here Sam picks up the story at the end of 1915—when he had left his family to go on his own as a pianist in Atlantic City—and. recounts his Army experience as a band musician, playing baritone and alto horn under Bill Vodery's leadership in New York and France. Returning to his hometown, Philadelphia, he has his first experience as a band leader, goes back to Atlantic City, "inherits" a cabaret in Detroit, and eventually takes a six-piece band into Barron Wilkins' cabaret in Harlem. Sam also gives us a fascinating back room glimpse of Harlem's club scene, weaving into this part of his recollections such colleagues as Ethel Waters, Bricktop, Lucky Roberts, James P. Johnson, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Johnson, Eubie Blake and Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon. It all takes us up to 1923, when Sam brought his band to the new Nest Club and had not an inkling of a near future offer that would take him back to Europe, give his career a new, historic twist, and forever change his life.




Sam Wooding on a visit to my
apartment in November, 1982.

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