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Writing and Essays






Ted Butterman
Excellent Jazz Trumpet Player



Based in Chicago Butterman has been playing superb trumpet for more than a half century. 


He’s probably best known for his years leading the Chicago Cubs Dixieland jazz band.


Highlights of his Frisco years, and other notable work is highlighted below in rare and archival tapes.

New 7.2015












Ted Butterman was recently profiled for Chicago Cubs Radio,
CBS
780 AM, . . . and on their web page:

Behind the Plate: Ted Butterman and the Cubs Dixieland Band


Butterman and San Francisco jazz
In the late 1950s during just a couple of years Butterman made a strong impression on the jazz revival scene in the San Francisco Bay Area.  An excellent horn player, he was noted for his remarkable ability to “trade fours” with other musicians.  

Sadly, none of his legendary jam sessions with Bill Erickson at Nod’s bar in Berkeley are extant.  But tapes were rolling on a few occasions when he played with Dick Oxtot, Bob Mielke or especially clarinet player Bunky Coleman.  A handful of their monumental jams trading four (twos, actually) till the cows came home . . . or the tape ran out were taped at The Bagatelle.

Chicago Cubs Band

Ted's Chicago Cubs Dixieland Band has been playing for games at Wrigley Field in Chicago since April 1982.
   




Ted with Dick Oxtot
Burp Hollow, San Francisco
late 1950s


L to R:
Ted Butterman, Bunky Coleman, Pete Allen, Dick Oxtot


Oxtot Collection

New 5.2015

Interactive article recently published by San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation:

The Infamous Burp Hollow:
North Beach Nightclub and San Francisco Jazz Bar, 1956-66

"Hosted by a shady operator the best of Frisco Jazz was served up with a dubious cocktail at a crowded little gingham-topped table at the infamous Burp Hollow."

New 10.14

ARCHIVE MUSIC

Burp Hollow

This is typical of Oxtot's quartet stomping little quartet with Ted Butterman and Bunky Coleman 'trading fours.'

These tunes are excellent examples of a conversation in jazz between two and three instrumental voices: ‘trading fours' (splitting solos between four bars of music), or in this case, 'trading twos.'

Ted Butterman (trumpet)
Bunky Coleman (clarinet)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Peter Allen (string bass)

Make Me a Pallet.mp3 (6:32)
China Boy.mp3 (inc at 5:33)
Since My Best Gal Turned me Down.mp3 (3:30)
   
Oxtot collection
 


Audio disclaimer:

Much of the music presented here was made over a half century ago at informal performances and jam sessions.  The tapes contain numerous technical and musical flaws, yet are presented as historic artifacts despite missed notes or technical shortcomings.  Thanks to Ted Butterman for vetting the tracks offered here.
  




L to R:

Bret Runkle, Dick Oxtot, Ted Butterman, Earl Scheelar

Date and location unknown

Courtesy Ted Butterman









There's a tribute to the Cubs, the band and its members at
Ted's website.

New 10.14

ARCHIVE MUSIC

Dick Oxtot’s Stompers
at The Bagatelle


Ted Butterman (cornet)
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bill Bardin (trombone)
Pete Allen (string bass)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)

St. Louis Blues.mp3
Should I?.mp3 (dropouts)
Bugle Call Rag_B.mp3
Take Your Tomorrows.mp3

Oxtot tape of acetates from Oxtot collection

Photo: Goudie and Oxtot
broadcast from Pier 23, 1959

Oxtot collection
  


Dave Greer recalls Ted Butterman in Berkeley, CA


A place called Nods in Berkeley had begun having jazz bands play once a week in a back room.  It wasn’t very big, but there was a bandstand if no dance floor.  Tables came up pretty close to the bandstand and the musicians.

While I was living with Bill Erickson [we] would . . .  go down to Nods bar.  Bill took his horn, and I should have taken my recording gear and I knew it, but I felt it would be an awful hassle in such a crowded space, and I never did.  Some exceptionally fine music was lost. 


Ted Butterman, right,
Dick Oxtot, left. Photo courtesy Dave Greer.



I always remember Ted Butterman being on stage . . . Bill sat in with him.  They swapped choruses on the tunes, and these were monumental exchanges!  Bill had begun playing as a Bixian but moved into his own style.  The competition with Ted brought out the best in both of them.  I had heard many fine musicians exchange choruses . . . but I never heard any as consistently excellent as these before or since.
 

New 7.2015

ARCHIVE MUSIC

RENE’S LOUNGE,
Westmont, IL 10.11.64


Ted Butterman (trumpet)
Steve Mengler (trombone)
Frank Chace (clarineet)
Bob Skiver (tenor joins at Devil & Deep Blue)
Bob Sundstrom (banjo)
Mike Walbridge (tuba and vocal)
Wayne Jones (snare drum & cymbals, vocals)


Bourbon St. Parade.mp3
Monday Date.mp3
Who’s It?.mp3
Gatemouth.mp3
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.mp3
Once in a While.mp3
Who Stole the Lock?.mp3 (band vocal)
Somebody Else is Taking My Place.mp3
Just a Little While to Stay Here.mp3
Beale St. Blues.mp3 (vocal, Walbridge)
Willie the Weeper.mp3
    

New 4.2015

ARCHIVE MUSIC

At the Home of Wayne Jones, Chicago, IL, Sept. 1964

Ted Butterman (trumpet)
Bob Skiver (tenor sax and clarinet)
Frank Chace (clarinet)
Bob Sundstrom (banjo)
Wayne Jones (snare drum and cymbal)


10.6.64
Three Little Words.mp3
I Can't Give You Anything But Love.mp3
Somebody Else is Taking My Place.mp3
Mister Sandman.mp3
Oriental Strut.mp3

same, but Chace out, 9.21.64
Fidgety Feet.mp3
The Blues My Naught Sweetie Gives To Me.mp3

Special thanks to Ted Butterman, Joe Spencer and Hal Smith.

 


Ted Butterman comments on working with this crew:

"I remember being intimidated by Skiver and Chace whenever we played together.  You can  hear it on my "Somebody Else Has Taken My Place" solo.

They were older than me which further intimidated me. Chace eleven years my senior and Skiver fourteen. Nonetheless it was a joy to hear these takes fifty four years after the fact.  Never heard them before which is probably why I don't remember doing them.

I've always liked Skiver's lyricism and Chace's PeeWee-esque approach.
I do remember Chace telling me that his favorite trumpet player was Max Kaminski because he stuck to the melody. I understand that since it gave Frank more latitude to do what he did around the melody."

  










Bob Skiver

Date and location unknown

Courtesy Ted Butterman
 

New 4.2015

ARCHIVE MUSIC

Butterman plays piano

Ted Butterman (piano)
Wayne Jones (brushes)


1.66
Rosetta.mp3 (4:29)
Teds Rag.mp3 (2:44)

Special thanks to Ted Butterman, Joe Spencer and Hal Smith.
  


Ted Butterman comments:

"Regarding 'Rosetta:' I Iove Wayne's 'soft shoe' brush work and laughed at the final 'boom'.  In retrospect I hear references to Earl Hines in using his octave tremolos early on, Teddy Wilson's left hand 10ths, and Jelly Roll Morton's 'Spanish Tinge' on the bridge of the second chorus. Nothing memorable, just fun. You can tell by my technique that I'm not a piano player.
 
As for "Ted's Rag," the thing I like best is the very last chord. You never hear songs end on a 9th any more. Bands used to use it all the time."



Jim Kweskin with the Neo-Passe Jazz Band
Jump for Joy, 1967
produced by Samuel Charters
Universe/Vanguard/Comet UV 051/VMD 79243


Jim Kweskin (vocal and guitar)
Ted Buttermn (cornet and bandleader)
Frank Chace (clarinet and bass sax)
Johnny Frigo (violin)
Kim Cusak (tenor sax and clarinet)
Mary Grosz (banjo and guitar, arrangments)
Truck Parham (bass)
Wayne Jones (drums)


Kicking The Gong Around.mp3 (3:16)
Melancholy Baby.mp3 (5:18)
Medley: Oh Miss_Hannah, That's My Weakness Now.mp3 (3:50)
Louisiana.mp3 (3:03)
   



















Ted Butterman's Chicago Cubs
Dixieland Band


Ted Butterman's Neo Passe Swing Quintet

Butterman's Neo Passe Swing Quintette, dates back to 1966.  In recent years Ted switched to guitar and his band enjoyed a long residency at The Village Tavern in Long Grove just outside Chicago, long a home for Chicago's Swing and Dixieland musicians.  Excerpts below are from the CD Live at the Village Tavern available form Dixieswing.com/neo.html.

Ted Butterman (leader, guitar)
Charlie Weeks or Ron Barron (drums)
Scott Black (bass)
Dave Elias or Jeremy Kahn (piano)

Lead horn as noted, below:

Sweet Georgia Brown.mp3 - Stu Genovese (clarinet), Dave Elias (piano)
China Boy.mp3 - Eric Schneider (soprano), Jeremy Kahn (piano
I Can't Believe that You're in Love.mp3 - Kim Cusack (clarinet), Dave Elias (piano)
Let Yourself Go.mp3 - Kim Cusack (clarinet), Dave Elias (piano)
After You've Gone.mp3 - Russ Philips (trombone), Dave Elias (piano)
   


The Old McHenry's Novelty Orchestra, 1980
Village Tavern, Long Grove, IL, 3/80 & 5/80


Mike Schwimmer comments:
“All ‘arrangements’ were head -- mainly Ted's and Harry's.  The source of the name was me -- I seem always to be the one who's named the bands I played in!  The Village Tavern was/is located on Old McHenry Road in Long Grove IL.  McHenry is a county just northwest of Lake county wherein is Long Grove.  I suspect the road name came from the original route into McHenry County from Long Grove.”

New 4.2015

ARCHIVE MUSIC

The Old McHenry Novelty Orchestra
Village Tavern, Long Grove, IL


Ted Butterman (leader and trumpet)
Miles Zimmerman (clarinet)
Harry Graves (trombone)
Dave Phelps (piano)
Terry Pettijohn (banjo)
Mike Walbridge (tuba)
Mike Schwimmer (washboard and vocals)


3.9.80

My Wild Irish Rose.mp3
Once in a While.mp3
Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.mp3 (vocal, Schwimmer)
Bim Bam Boom.mp3
Some Sweet Day.mp3
Limehouse Blues.mp3
Somebody Else is Taking my Place.mp3
There’ll Be Some Changes Made.mp3

5.4.80
Take Your Tomorrows.mp3
All Of Me.mp3
I'm A Dreamer, Aren’t We All.mp3
Rhythm King.mp3

Recorded in live performance more than 3 & ½ decades ago, these performances are presented as historic artifacts despite minor flaws, missed notes or technical shortcomings.

Thanks to Joe Spencer and Ted Butterman for audio and assistance

  


Commentary by Ted Butterman:
“There wasn't much arranging; they were 'head' arrangements meaning they developed during the course of the tune. Whatever minimal arranging was mine.

Miles Zimmerman (clt)
One of my favorite clarinet players ever. Played many years in the Chicago area with many bands. Uncanny sense of harmony and impeccable taste in my opinion.
 
Harry Graves (tbn)
Great player!!!  A musician's musician and the epitome of 'nice guy'.  He's the guy who says "Teddy boy!" on “Once In A While.”  Played a long time with Muggsy Spanier.

Dave Phelps (pno)
A journeyman, albeit young, piano player who played with everyone on the 'Dixieland' scene from the 1950s on until his death in the ‘90s.
 
Terry Pettijohn (bjo)
Nice banjo player who has Country Music roots and went on to big things later in his career.  Last I heard of him he was in New Orleans doing some playing and arranging.”
   


Additional info:
Mike Walbridge (tuba, b. 1937, L.A., CA) worked with Lil Hardin Armstrong, Original Salty Dogs, Art Hodes, Turk Murphy, Clancy Hayes, Wally Rose, Hal Smith and his own Chicago Footwarmers founded 1958.

Mike Schwimmer (washboard and vocals) had a long history as a Midwestern musician based in Chicago.  He founded, and led the Red Rose Ragtime Band for many years.  He currently hosts The Yesterday Shop, twice a month on WOMR, Provincetown, MA.
  


Audio disclaimer:


Much of the music presented here was made over a half century ago at informal performances and jam sessions.  The tapes contain numerous technical and musical flaws, yet are presented as historic artifacts despite missed notes or technical shortcomings.  Thanks to Ted Butterman for vetting the tracks offered here.
  


A Note from Ted:

"One of my favorite hot bands, is
J.C. Johnson's Hot Sparks. The cornetist's name is Walter Bennett who, along with Thomas Jefferson, are two whose names will never come up in discussions about jazz but who, in my humble opinion, are giants. That's the kind of band I'd love to have (in my dreams).

The label says the cornet player is Jabbo Smith but obviously is not Jabbo."

  
Red Hot Hottentot
  






LINKS:

Ted Butterman Bands & Orchestras can be found at:
http://www.dixieswing.com/about.html
http://www.dixieswing.com/neo.html
http://www.dixieswing.com/gold.html
   


Ted Butterman today,
Courtesy Butterman