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I mentioned my friend Buddie Petit, but he never did come to Chicago. I say, “Get Buckeye.” (We called him Buckeye Joe cause of that cataract in one eye.)We had heard him in brass bands and he could really blow. I’ll never forget the first number we rehearsed that night — Darktown Strutters’ Ball.
We rehearsed just a few other numbers and they said everything was all right.
One of Jelly Roll’s tunes that we used to play with Jimmie Noone in Oliver’s band at the Royal Garden was called Queen of Spades.
In New York, at a time when Luis Russell wasn’t doing anything, and Jelly needed a drummer, I worked with him for about two weeks.
Then, after I left Chicago I didn’t see Jelly Roll again till practically five years, and then I saw him on Seventh Avenue with the same crowd — telling them how good he is.
So when he got to Chicago (staying in California, I personally think, set him back twenty years or more) he ran into “awful” good piano players, such as Earl Hines, Teddy Weatherford (that piano man played in the symphony orchestra at the Vendome Theatre, under the direction of Erskine Tate).
No one ever thought he was ill because he always had that Jolly spirit and everyone was always lookin’ for him on the corner — because they knew they’d always get a boot out of him.
Then, the last I heard of Jelly, the last tune he wrote that went big for a while was “Grandpa’s Spells.”So Jelly is gone now, and there are hundreds of musicians who are sorry that happened because he was really a stimulant to them.A lot of other guys came up from New Orleans at that time, and some entertainers came up with the jazz bands. They had Sugar Johnny, Lawrence Duhe, Ed Garland, and Roy Palmer. I don’t see where any other trombone player was greater than Roy, and I’m saying a whole lot. Also Jelly and all the big shots would go and gamble at the Pioneer Club, at State and 35th streets, across from the Deluxe.