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The Bay City Jazz Band

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Inspired by the Yerba Buena Jazz Band and Turk Murphy, trombonist Sanford Newbauer and cornetist Everett Farey organized the Bay City Jazz Band in March 1955. The talented young musicians (whose average ages were 25) started playing regularly in public the following month. The band was fortunate enough to meet the retired Lu Watters, who gave them some of his arrangements. By July they were playing regularly at the Sail'N in downtown San Francisco on weekends. Their original lineup, in addition to the co-leaders, included trumpeter Al Cavallin, clarinetist Roy Giomi, pianist Don Keeler, banjoist Tito Patri, Walt Yost on tuba, and drummer Lloyd Byassee. The Bay City Jazz Band drew its repertoire mostly from 1920s standards (including songs played by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Jelly Roll Morton) plus some new originals. They made two recordings for the Good Time Jazz label (both since reissued on CD) in 1956 and 1957. By the time of the second date, Yost had replaced Cavallin on second cornet, Lee Valencia was on banjo, and Jack Beecher was the new tuba player. A part-time outfit (all of the musicians had day jobs), the octet played almost exclusively in the Bay Area, although the band did well at a concert held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The Bay City Jazz Band broke up shortly after their second record. ~ Scott Yanow

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