The Bagatelle San Francisco jazz club and bar on Russian Hill.
The bistro and bar offered music, ragtime piano and hard liquor. Oxtot's bands played several nights per week. The Sunday afternoon sessions featured Louisiana-born clarinet players Clem Raymond or Frank Big Boy Goudie.
Nightly piano player Ed Taylor noted on the business card (above) was a ragtime music exponent, composer, and student of Dink Johnson. He also worked at Burp Hollow, Pier 23, and with Jack Schafer, Robin Hodes and Wingie Manone.
Dick Oxtot band Bagatelle, San Francisco, June 1959
Personnel likely: [trumpet unknown] Frank Goudie (clarinet) Bob Mielke (trombone) Dick Oxtot (banjo) Pete Allen (bass) Don Marchant (drums) Carol Leigh (vocals)
In his typewritten 1978 monograph, Bay Area Jazz Clubs of the Fifties, Brett Runkle recalled the club: "The Bagatelle on Polk Street had an Oxtot band with Frank Goudie and other good people on Sundays. It was a good sized bar with a generous bandstand and (I think) a dance floor. It was famous for a phantom flugelhorn player.
The guy had been told he wasn’t good enough to sit in. He managed to conceal himself and appear in every set like a stigmata. Dave Greer and I used to sit in the Bagatelle and try to think of some useful purpose for flugelhorns. They’d make an ideal rain gauge for arid regions. The other applications were pretty frivolous."
Goudie, Mielke, P.T. Stanton, Allen, Oxtot
Pioneer Village, East Bay, c. 1958.
Bob Mielke collection
In his Jazz Scrapbook, Dick Oxtot recalled The Bagaelle:
"The Bagetelle, a comfortable-sized bistro in the Polk Street district of San Francisco, hired us to begin a series of jazz sessions on Sunday afternoons, featuring Frank “Big Boy” Goudie, who had spent most of his clarinet playing career [sic] in Paris, and had a style comparable to that of Omer Simeon, of Jelly Roll Morton fame.
The trumpet player, Ted Butterman, was on an extended visit from Chicago. He was an exceptionally hot player . . . Jim Leigh and Bill Bardin shared the trombone duties.
We opened the Bagatelle in 1957, and one Sunday afternoon in 1958, we recorded there with Clem Raymond, a clarinetist from New Orleans, who had moved to California in 1916, and played with King Oliver’s band. Besides Raymond, the players were P.T. Stanton, Bill Bardin, Pete Allen, Bill Young, and me. The recording . . . was issued on an attractive CD by Delmark, in 1994."
In his jazz memoir, Heaven on the Side, Jim Leigh remembered the club:
"On Dick Oxtot’s gig at the Bagatelle, a beer joint on Polk north of Broadway . . . [Bardin, right] blew me away entirely. That band included, besides P.T. Stanton and Peter Allen, another new face to me: Frank (Big Boy) Goudie, whose name I knew from the records he had made in Europe during the 30s, with the likes of Django Reinhardt and Bill Coleman . . . but for the moment I was riveted on Bardin, which is to say on how the band was swinging.
Joe Dodge, who had been one of Dave Brubeck’s first drummers, was wailing away to good effect; Oxtot and Allen were in solid with him; Stanton, Goudie and Bardin blazed away in the front line: it was the most ordinary little gig in the world, and probably paid $10 a man — if they were lucky . . .
But the following Sunday I got to sit in at the Bagatelle. So did one of my very favorite San Francisco musicians, the beautiful trumpeter Jack Minger. I had my nerve, to presume to stand in for Bardin, and next to Minger. But within a year I would be in a great deal further over my head, and loving it."
L to R: Stanton, Raymond, Bardin, Allen, Oxtot, Young
Forthcoming: The best and rarest of the archival jazz recordings
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