Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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SPANIER, Muggsy

(b Francis Joseph Spanier, 9 Nov. '06, Chicago; d 12 Feb. '67, Sausalito CA) Cornet, leader. One of ten children; nicknamed after a baseball manager; began on drums, switched to cornet at 13. Played in many bands, joined Ted Lewis '29--36 incl. European tour, Ben Pollack '36--8, ill- health took him to the Touro clinic in New Orleans. He formed the Ragtimers for gigs at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago and Nick's in NYC: the band lasted less than eight months but made 16 sides reissued many times since, their pre-war charm in the neo-New Orleans Chicago style showing why the revival movement in jazz began at about that time (now on Bluebird in much better transfers than during the LP era; also remastered 'in digital stereo' by Robert Parker). Four octet sides were made in Chicago in July, the rest by a septet (sans guitar) at the end of the year, all for Victor; all incl. George Clarence Brunies on trombone (b 6 Feb. '02, New Orleans; d 19 Nov. '74, Chicago; later spelled his name Georg Brunis) and George Frederick 'Rod' Cless on clarinet (b 20 May '07, Lennox IA; d 8 Dec. '44, NYC); Joe Bushkin played piano in NYC. Blues 'Relaxin' At The Touro' was an original; of the chestnuts they revived, their 'Livery Stable Blues' was probably the sweetest version ever made. He rejoined Lewis, then with Bob Crosby '40- -41; led big band '41--3 styled after Crosby's which recorded eight sides for Decca '42, 'Two O'Clock Jump' something of a hit; 'Hesitating Blues' was a 'Ragtimers' (band-within-a-band) side with Vernon Brown on trombone, Irving Fazola on clarinet. Played with Lewis again '44; led small groups, worked in '50s with Earl Hines in San Francisco. Played on Jazzology CDs The Genius Of Sidney Bechet, World's Greatest Jazz Concert No. 1 (with Wild Bill Davis, 'Hot Lips' Page), No. 2 (with Bechet), on several volumes of the complete Eddie Condon Town Hall Concerts (see Jazzology). Bio-discography The Lonesome Road '96 by Bert Whyatt incl. quintet CD, 50 minutes with Bud Freeman, Jess Stacy, Baby Dodds, Bob Casey on bass.