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In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
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In Tune
Bill Fuller

On Sunday, Feb.26, Cleveland’s own
Hot Jazz 7 (all eight of them)  appeared in concert for
EARLYJAS at the British American Club. This group is unique in northern Ohio for its two-
cornet frontline in the manner of King Oliver and Lu Watters.

The Hot Jazz 7 began around 1995, under the leadership of tuba-player Dick Houck who has
since passed away. Under the current leadership of another tuba-player, Jonathan Fairman,
the band has performed at such varied venues as Nighttown, the Bill Gordon TV Show, a
number of Cuyahoga County Libraries, Cleveland State University, the Ohio Historical
Society in Columbus, Charleston West Virginia’s “Wine and All that Jazz” Festival, Tower
City, Blossom Music Center, and Severance Hall. They have also made a CD which can be
purchased for $10 at any of their performances.      
The band’s charts lean heavily on Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Lu
Watters, and Turk Murphy. Some of the tunes are traditional standards but the band delights
most in performing some of the less-often-heard, more obscure compositions such as:

ALLIGATOR HOP- written in 1923 by King Oliver and arranged by Louis Armstrong’s
second wife (and a major musical impetus for Louis), Lil Hardin. Sometimes known as
“Alligator Flop” this tune gets a washboard treatment by the HJ7.     

ARAB STRUT – is one of a number of “oriental” charts in the HJ7 book – this one very
recent. It was written in 1956 by Ev Farey and Roy Giomi, two players associated with the
West Coast band known as the Bay City Jazz Band which was heavily influenced by Lu
Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz band.

DOIN’ THE HAMBONE – this one is also fairly recent. Lu Watters wrote it in 1950, to
commemorate his band’s long-running San Francisco gig at Hambone Kelly’s. To do “The
Hambone” meant slapping the chest, thighs, and legs rhythmically to the music. HJ7 doesn’t
do that! It hurts!

ORY’S CREOLE TROMBONE – written and recorded by Kid Ory in 1922, in Los Angeles
with Spike’s 7 Pods of Pepper including Mutt Carey on cornet, this was possibly the first
Black recording of jazz. Listen to HJ7’s “special” trombone treatment.

SIDEWALK BLUES- composed in 1926 by Jelly Roll Morton and recorded with his Red Hot
Peppers in Chicago. It has been said that Jelly may have “borrowed” this melody from Lee
Collins’ “Fish Tail Blues.” Jelly loved breaks, and this has ‘em.

MINOR DRAG  (1929) Fats Waller.  The story is that Fats wrote this wonderful tune in a taxi
on his way to a recording session in New York.  The original title was “Harlem Fuss” but the
record company mis-labeled the take.  A better title might have been “Minor Stomp” for this
uptempo jewel.

KING OF THE ZULUS (A Chit’lin’ Rag) (1926)  Lil Hardin Armstrong.     Mardi Gras parades
are put on by social clubs called krewes.  The Zulu Aid and Pleasure Club annually selects a
prominent citizen to be the ‘King of the Zulus’ and ride on its float.  Louie’s Hot 5 recorded
this tune in 1926 with wonderful trombone as well as cornet solos.

WASHBOARD WIGGLES (1929)  Tiny Parham. Tiny Parham and his piano wrote and
produced many recordings representative of the South Side Chicago style jazz. Other
examples of his compositions are little known gems such as Tiger Moan, Mojo Strut, Head
Hunter’s Dream, Jungle Crawl, and Snake Eyes.

Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization