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Slam Stewart: “Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Gosh”

This is an odd tribute post.

My daughter is a senior at Binghamton University in upstate New York. Early on, our family visited and went with her to a restaurant called the “Whole in the Wall.” We had nice meal.

There was an older gentleman who played piano very well, but quietly. It was as if he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. We began talking, and it turned out he was a very nice guy and had quite a musical history.

We ate there several times over the three-plus years since, and he and I would chat each time. One of the people he said that he had played with was the bassist Slam Stewart.

He didn’t look very well the last time we were there, and I just heard from my daughter that the man — whose name I don’t know — passed away. This post is for him.

Here is more on Stewart. He played bass behind Sam Gaillard on the great song “Flat Foot Floogie (With the Floy Floy),” which was a novelty song which became a hit.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.