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Robert Carter

Robert Carter

Jazz trombonist and vocalist; musician's union leader

Birth: September 26, 1915

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

Date of Interview: March 31, 1982

Place of Interview: Narrator's home

Interviewer: Dan Havens

Robert Carter began his musical studies with P.B. Langford, director of the Odd Fellows Brass Band (a lodge band). One of fifteen children, Robert attended Sumner High School where he continued his music training. Lodge and funeral bands were among his first music performing groups as a youth. He would later perform with Harry Winn, Eddie Johnson's Crackerjacks, Eddie Randle's Blue Devils, Fate Marable, Charles Creath, Dewey Jackson, the George Hudson Orchestra, and Singleton Palmer's Dixieland Six. Mr. Carter is a former President of the musicians' union, Local 197 in St. Louis. He has been a long-time executive board member of the St. Louis musicians' union Local 2-197.

This is the table of contents for the interview of Robert Carter. 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 004-138 Biographical; Birth, Family, Musical

background, lessons

1 a 139-176 Lodge bands, funerals, High school,

reading music

1 a 177-219 First dance band job-Bill Jeeter

1 a 220-237 Musicians with lodge bands, Dewey Jackson,

Charles Creath

1 a 238-315 Sumner H.S.-bands, teachers, musicians

1 a 316-336 High school dances, musicians

1 a 337-406 First professional job-Pete Patterson, music,


1 a 407-439 Harry Winn Orch., Audiences, Dance Box,

shortage of trombones

1 a 440-483 Eddie Johnson "Crackerjacks", Louisville, Ky.,

musicians, pay

1 a 484-543 Musicians with Winn, Jeeter, Crackerjacks

1 a 544-657 Riverboat bands-Jackson, Marable,

instruments, pay, hours

1 a 658-678 Marable incidents-popular stories

1 a 679-706 Older musicians; ability to get along and fit in

1 a 707-739 Tunes, programs, discipline, "Trombone Smitty"

1 b 005-027 Marable-off-season

1 b 028-053 Charlie Creath as a musician

1 b 054-110 Dewey Jackson-player, personality, leader,

Lodge bands

1 b 111-166 Leaves Marable, Depression years, gigging

1 b 167-215 Cecil Scott-"Doggy"; Cecil Thornton; Shorty


1 b 216-240 Harry Winn-Plantation gig; Marriage

1 b 241-283 Ohio River boats-playing, traveling

1 b 284-323 Capital steamboat, wintering

1 b 324-401 Gigging, marriage-change in musical life;

Scullins Steel Co.

1 b 402-426 St. Louis Medical Depot job; gigging, Navy


1 b 427-447 Enlisting U.S. Navy, Great Lakes, Other

musicians enlisting

1 b 448-511 Re-assignment to Lambert Field; prejudice in

service back to Great Lakes

1 b 512-596 Honolulu, Hawaii; conditions, job more


1 b 597-635 Other black musicians in Navy

1 b 636-680 After W.W.II; return to civilian job, poor


1 b 681-727 Musician's union 197-Nomination for President,

serves 5 years V. Pres. under George Smith,


1 b 728-end Takes job with Singleton Palmer - Forest

Park Hotel, personnel

2 a 003-039 After W.W.II; musician's reunions, Winn Band

2 a 040-117 Eddie Randle Band after Marable band,

musicians, prejudice

2 a 118-144 Singleton Palmer's Band - Dixieland music

2 a 145-179 Al Guichard

2 a 180-198 Gaslight Square, Palmer

2 a 199-218 George Hudson - as leader & business man;

musicians; discipline

2 a 219-246 Goldenrod Boat with Palmer, musicians

2 a 247-267 Dave Harris

2 a 268-320 Leroy Harris

2 a 321-342 Other players presently on Palmer Band

2 a 343-372 Black musicians in traditional jazz; audiences


2 a 373-398 David Hines, trumpet player; different


2 a 399-418 Other occasional band jobs, American theater

2 a 419-435 Recording tunes; radio work

2 a 436-453 Musician's Locals, Prejudice, merger of unions -1970

2 a 509-530 Don Redmond, Playdium, with Mills Brothers

2 a 531-541 Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra

2 a 542-560 Bands in Pittsburg - Ozzie Nelson, J. Dorsey

2 a 545-508 Bands that came through St. Louis; Waller at

Coliseum; Clyde Hopkins Orch. Black night on


2 a 561-573 Radio broadcasts - listening, meeting musicians

2 a 574-600 Musicians met & heard - Ellington, W.C. Handy,

Guy Williams

2 a 601-645 Dewey Jackson leaving music

2 a 646-674 Carter's own role in bands; role model

2 a 675-691 Influence of Louie Armstrong on musicians

2 a 692-713 Influence of family on music & vice-versa

2 a 714-733 Don Gumpert - Playdium

2 a 734-742 Carter's children

2 b 003-085 Carter's children, cont'd

2 b 086-179 Parents, grandfather; family history

2 b 180-215 Buying family land

2 b 216-278 Selling land, subdivision for blacks

2 b 279-289 Father's family, Wentzville

2 b 290-379 Looking back; regrets, education own &

children's; music as a "second career"; "What if?"

2 b 380-426 Suggestions for young people; Feelings about

own family, friendships with musicians

3 a 002-023 Personnel with Singleton Palmer-cont'd;

learning Dixieland

3 a 024-054 Leaves Palmer; goes with George Hudson

3 a 055-092 Playdium, East St. Louis

3 a 093-124 Recording with Palmer

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

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