Deondre Coston


City: Chicago


I searched “Chicago” and made the subject “jazz” to filter out irrelevant information. In addition, I also limited the collections in the archive to avoid extraneous readings. The search resulted in 10 interviews; I skimmed through the readings and jotted down notes that seemed interesting/relevant. A couple interviews vaguely talked about Chicago, so I just noted a few things.


Jazz interviews


Bob Schulz- Born in Wisconsin, he taught music in public schools for seventeen years before quitting and joining a band. He briefly mentions Chicago a couple of times in his interview. Mainly mentioning it to describe the different styles his band played. He was asked a question about the difference between New York’s style and Chicago’s style. However, he didn’t explain what Chicago’s style entailed. The term  “trad” was referenced, meaning traditional jazz, but it wasn’t clear if it referred to Chicago’s style or not.


Bob Wilber- The Chicago style I mention previously is associated with Eddie Condon, Pee Wee Russell, Max Kaminsky, Bobby Hackett, and Brad Gowans. [i]“The Condon style was a group of musicians who were kids growing up in Chicago in the ‘20’s, listening to King Oliver, Armstrong, the Dodds brothers, and being totally knocked out and inspired by that music. And in their own way playing something which they thought was like it but it turned out different.”


Denny Zeitlin- He was born in Chicago. He talked about going to these clubs in Chicago and staying out until five in the morning. Danny learned how to play jazz by asking piano players to show him a chord or two after their gig. He mostly talked about the culture of jazz in Chicago. He brings up a couple clubs such as The Streamliner in Chicago and the London House. (He goes more in-depth about jazz musicians from Chicago and different venues in Chicago.)


Hal Smith- I thought it was interesting how he was able to identify a Chicago drummer because of his/her style. [ii]“The Chicago drummers learned rudiments and classical technique from drummers who had come out of that military and classical tradition. So they played like that and lifted their sticks way high off the drum and all that.” Hal also mention how New Orleans players influenced the people in Chicago.  Musicians such as Oliver, Armstrong, Johnny Dodge, Jimmy Noone, Baby Dodds, and Jelly Roll Morton all played a crucial role in the development of “Chicago jazz”.


Harold Ousley – He was born in Chicago. He performed with Count Baise. Harold grew up in the swing and hot jazz era. He talked about staying out until 1 in the morning in high school so he could go to clubs and listen to jazz. Furthermore, he mention that clubs would start their breakfast dance at about 4 or 5 in the morning then the show would start around 7 in the morning.


Herbie Hancock- He was in the Chicago Symphony.


Jon-Erik Kellso- has performed with Jim Dapogny’s Chicago Jazz. . He discussed how “Chicago jazz” is really musicians from New Orleans taking their music to Chicago and meeting guys from Chicago. He also compared the “New Orleans jazz” and “Chicago jazz”.

“New Orleans jazz”- is more of an emphasis on ensemble playing and less solos.

“Chicago jazz”- is more of an emphasis on the solos but still an emphasis on ensemble- just more on solos.


Junior Mance- She was born in Chicago.  She talked about Chicago but more in the sense of what it was like to live there and her experience.


Milt Hinton- Career started in Chicago. He mention how people from all over the untied stated use to come to Chicago to search for a better life. He touches on being able to get a decent job and the best hotels (The Congress, The Blackstone, the Edgewater) in Chicago. He introduces the misconception of the south side and north side of Chicago.

[i]  Bob Wilber, Interview by Rowe Monk, Clinton (N.Y.), May 5, 1998

[ii] Hal smith, Interview by Rowe Monk, Clinton (N.Y.), September 12, 1997

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