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Singleton Palmer

Singleton Palmer

Popular St. Louis jazz musician and band leader

Birth: November 13, 1912

Death: March 8, 1993

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

Date of Interview: August 9, 1981

Interviewer: Dan Havens

Singleton Palmer began playing trumpet in the late 1930's at Sumner High School. He soon began to play the tuba. Then, in the 1930's, he learned to play string bass. Mr. Palmer went on to perform with the Oliver Cobb Orchestra, Erskine Tate's Orchestra, Fate Marable, Dewey Jackson, and the George Hudson Orchestra. He left St. Louis in 1947 to play string bass for Count Basie's band. He returned in 1950 and started his own band, the Dixieland Six, a group that he would lead for more than forty years. This popular group performed regularly at the Opera House in Gaslight Square and on the Robert E. Lee and Goldenrod showboats.


This is the table of contents for the interview of Singleton Palmer. It is part of the National Ragtime and Jazz Archive which is located in Lovejoy Library at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

For a complete contents list of all musician interviews for the oral history project, please click on this link: Oral History and Research Materials.

If interested in reviewing these materials from the National Ragtime and Jazz Archive, please contact Therese Dickman, Fine Arts Librarian.

Tape # Side

Time

Subject

1 a

001-033

Biographical - name, family

1 a

034-068

trumpet lessons, tuba lessons, reasons for change

1 a

069-111

Mose Wiley's Band, personnel

1 a

112-130

tunes played, reading charts

1 a

131-151

pay received, types of jobs, towns played in

1 a

152-174

taxi dances

1 a

175-221

Best bands in St. Louis - mid - 20's

1 a

222-256

music lessons

1 a

257-278

marching bands, parades in St. Louis

1 a

279-310

parents, becoming career musician, style of playing

1 a

311-362

Oliver Cobb Band, personnel, places played, pay

1 a

363-375

playing Coliseum with Louis Armstrong in St. Louis

1 a

376-432

Eddie Johnson's Crackerjacks, personnel, pay places

1 a

433-490

Travel as Erskine Tate Band, switch to bass viol

1 a

491-526

Hawaiian Club excursion to Chicago, contact with Erskine Tate, travel

1 a

527-549

Plantation Club, 1933, personnel, hours, pay

1 a

550-569

Walter "Crack" Stanley, sets of music, shows at club

1 a

570-579

Joe "Ziggy" Johnson, Plantation Club

1 a

580-594

Erskine Tate - Travel

1 a

595-622

String bass, Truck Parham

1 a

623-630

types of crowds

1 a

631-653

arranging for band, Tab Smith

1 a

654-667

marriage

1 a

668-737

Fats Waller fronts band, tour, Waller's style

1 b

004-027

Cincinnati; Crystal Ballroom

1 b

028-039

Chicago excursion

1 b

040-051

Joined Dewey Jackson's band, 1937

1 b

052-069

Playing on the boat with Eddie Johnson; Idlewild

1 b

070-102

Dewey Jackson Band personnel

1 b

103-114

Streckfuss Boat "St. Paul" with Jackson

1 b

115-143

Change from Johnson to Jackson

1 b

144-187

Changes in Jackson band; big band on the "St. Paul"

1 b

188-263

Tunes played; sets; types of crowds

1 b

264-302

Unions in St. Louis; subsidiary 197

1 b

303-332

Fate Marable Band; personnel

1 b

333-345

Pay scales - black and white

1 b

346-379

After - hours clubs

1 b

380-424

Out-of-town bands in St. Louis; jamming

1 b

425-440

Best white bands and musicians

1 b

441-467

Black vaudeville; out-of-town musicians

1 b

468-529

George Hudson Band; personnel; arrangements

1 b

530-615

Travel with Hudson Band; eastern theater circuit; "Round the Horn; Duke Ellington sits in; Savoy Theater

1 b

616-633

Castle Farms, Cincinnati; Eddie Johnson

1 b

634-733

Joining Count Basie Band 1947; personnel

1 b

734-743

Pay with Basie

2 a

008-119

Basie Band; theater dates; artists played with

2 a

120-147

Universal Dance Hall; resignation from Basie Band

2 a

148-164

Palmer's daughter

2 a

165-220

Working with Basie Band; tunes; Fats Waller; Freddy Greene

2 a

221-256

Recording with band

2 a

257-350

Anecdotes from Basie band; recording

2 a

351-363

Jimmy Rushing; other musicians in band

2 a

364-384

Paul Gonsalves

2 a

385-402

Coleman Hawkins; "Body and Soul"

2 a

403-442

Cities where Basie Band played

2 a

443-452

Return to St. Louis; Scullins Steel job

2 a

453-482

Regal Theater, Chicago; Hudson Band during War

2 a

483-512

First version of Dixieland Six; May 1950; personnel

2 a

513-533

Universal Dance Hall; personnel; Sunday sessions

2 a

534-560

Formation of Dixieland Six; Forest Park Hotel sudden dismissal - no " Mixed Bands"

2 a

561-574

First recording with own band

2 a

575-584

Jobs after Forest Park Hotel; Top Hat Club; Windemere Club; The Spa

2 a

585-598

Dewey Jackson leaves band; Vertna Saunders comes on

2 a

599-630

Palladium Lounge; East St. Louis

2 a

631-676

Racial prejudice; integration; effects of

2 a

677-697

Success of Palmer's Band

2 a

698-714

Gaslight Square; Opera House 1958; Saunders leaves, Bill Martin takes place

2 a

715-743

Personnel changes - Al Guichard, Norman Mason, Dave Harris, Kimball Dial

2 b

007-105

Clarinet players with band

2 b

106-143

Other musicians with Palmer's band

2 b

144-173

Materials, tunes

2 b

174-190

Recording

2 b

191-231

Best unit of band - Bill Martin, Leon King, Norman Mason, Ben Thigpen

2 b

232-258

Changes Palmer would make in his life

2 b

259-314

Gaslight Square - demise of; other bands playing there

2 b

315-325

Phyllis Diller Show

2 b

326-349

Delmar Blvd. clubs in 1950's; musicians heard there

2 b

350-394

Television work

2 b

395-436

St. Louis Jazz Club; Ragtime Festival - lack of local musicians

2 b

437-457

Other jobs held

2 b

458-491

Claude Abney; Changes in life; music style

2 b

492-542

Tuba Symposium, Bloomington, Ind.

2 b

543-577

Influences on playing; other musicians

2 b

578-614

Own style of playing; what makes a jazz musician

2 b

615-703

Milt Hinton; other bass players and young bass men

2 b

704-731

Influences on musicians

2 b

732-745

Best bands ever heard - Basie, Ellington


E-mail comments and inquiries about the National Ragtime and Jazz Archive to Therese Dickman at tdickma@siue.edu or call 618-650-2695.

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