My brother’s in town, and he brought his trombone!
Doug graduated from high school the year I was born, and I grew up listening to the jazz records he left behind when he embarked on his music career. Louis Armstrong, Hot Five and Hot Seven. King Oliver. Lil Hardin.
My sisters and I went with Flo to hear Doug perform live a lot, too – he played and toured with the Original Salty Dogs Jazz Band, the Smokey Stover Firehouse Band and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band before he had to leave home to join the Marines. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he got into the 3rd Marine Air Wing Band in El Toro, CA – playing for national parades and ceremonies in the United States kept him out of Vietnam.
Before he left home, Doug bought the family a piano, and though it may have been seen as a frivolous expense on Flo’s budget, she made sure we three youngest took lessons. I wouldn’t be playing (or appreciating) the piano the way I do if it weren’t for those two. Thank you, Doug and Flo.
Once his Marine Corps days were over, Doug left his music career behind to focus on raising a family and pursuing a corporate career. Any time Doug’s name was mentioned after that, you could count on Flo to shake her head and lament, “I sure wish Doug would pick up that trombone again.” He finally did in 1996, working long and hard to get his chops back in time to put a band together to surprise Flo on her 80th birthday. Thank you, Doug and Flo.
Doug has been playing his trombone ever since, and while he and his lovely wife Shelley are in town from Louisville this week, he’ll be sitting in with a couple Chicago bands.
- Thursday, August 23: 8 pm at Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie (312.880.1511) with the Jake Sanders Quintet. Jake used to play in New York’s Cangelosi Cards, and now he’s here to bring “the jazz age into the new age” every Thursday at this new River North dance club.
- Sunday, August 26 8 pm at Honky Tonk BBQ on 1800 S. Racine with The Fat Babies, a Chicago-based traditional jazz group that’s heavily influenced by musicians like Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton.
The Jake Sanders Quintet and the Fat Babies both feature Andy Schum on cornet, and Doug and Shelley can’t say enough about this guy. “All the musicians are young and really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the old, old stuff,” Shelley says, adding that some of them are 78 collectors. “That’s really unusual…and wonderful!” I was thrilled to read that both of these Chicago venues boast huge dance floors. Mike and I have been enjoying SummerDance lessons in Grant Park the past couple years, and at Doug’s gigs in the early 60s we little girls all shared stints as Flo’s dancing partner. So bring your dancing shoes and look for me this weekend: I’ll be the one swinging like a hep cat on the dance floor. Thank you, Doug and Flo.