The Troy Street Observer

March 21, 1947: Big T and Friends at Symphony Hall

Jack Teagarden and a whole gang of Bostonians took over the stage at Symphony Hall on March 21, 1947.

Jack Teagarden photo
Teagarden, Lesberg, Kaminsky, and unknown drummer. Photo by William Gottlieb.

Jack Teagarden was all done with big bands by 1947, and like many others in jazz, Big T had settled into the small-group setting. Less than two weeks before this date, in fact, Teagarden had been in the studio for Victor, recording as Jack Teagarden’s Big Eight. Some of the eight were with him in the sextet he brought to Symphony Hall: trumpeter Max Kaminsky, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, bassist Jack Lesberg, and drummer Dave Tough. (Pianist James P. Johnson filled out the group.) They surely played “St. Louis Blues,” “Say It Simple,” and other Big Eight tunes.

A second band was on the program, led by cornetist Bobby Hackett, with pianist Dick Carey, bassist Johnny Field, and drummer Buzzy Drootin.

Continue Reading

February 3, 1946: Max Kaminsky Opens Maxie’s

Trumpeter Max Kaminsky opened his nightclub Maxie’s on Huntington Ave on February 3, only to close it two weeks later.

Max Kaminsky, born in Brockton and raised in Dorchester, was 16 when he started gigging with Artie Karle, and 18 when he met Bix Biederbecke. He worshipped Louis Armstrong. He’d been on the 1936 Tommy Dorsey band and the 1937-38 Artie Shaw band, but he was best known as a Chicago-school hot player, a regular at Nick’s in Greenwich Village, and one of Eddie Condon’s merry men.

In October 1945, Kaminsky and Pee Wee Russell commenced a four-month gig at the Copley Terrace nightclub in Boston, near the corner of Huntington and Stuart—an intersection that hasn’t existed for years. The rest of the group consisted of trombonist Brad Gowans, drummer Buzzy Drootin, pianist Teddy Roy, and bassist John Field. When the Copley Terrace job ended, Kaminsky moved down Huntington to Mass Ave, and opened Maxie’s at 220 Huntington, in the basement of the Minerva Hotel. Albert “Sparky” Tomasetti replaced Gowans, but the rest of the band came along with him.

Continue Reading