Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
When was the last time you saw three (count ‘em 3) double belled euphoniums in action? If you were in Hungary in
March, you might have seen them in several different cities. The Cell Block 7 is a California band that plays in the
tradition of the two cornet Lu Watters band. The front line (shown here from left to right: Dan Talbert, tbn; Bob
Romans, cnt; Bill Sharp, cnt) double on the 1900s marching band instrument, the double belled euphonium. In addition
to standards like Mood Indigo, the double belled trio play marching tunes like Military Escort and Buglers’ Holiday.
The two young guys in the back are Phil Cartwright, banjo and Tom Downs, tuba. Not shown are Bill Gunter,
washboard; Daryl Hosick; piano and Jon Stutler, clarinet.
The Cell Block Seven played in five different cities as part of the nationwide Boheme Jazz festival. Ten bands from 6
countries played in in 20 different cities during a six day period in late March in Hungary. We played for SRO audiences
of 200-500 people who loved the music.
The regular eight piece band (two cornets, trombone, clarinet and rhythm) play a variety of songs some of which (but
not all) carry the torch for the King Oliver/Louis Armstrong two cornet tradition. Their book of several hundred tunes
ranges from early Armstrong through Duke Ellington and everything in between.
The Cell Block Seven has a long history of playing traditional jazz. The band started back in the early 50’s at SMU in
Dallas. That band played with Phil Harris and Bob Hope and even appeared in a movie!
After a few years of dormancy, Bob Romans from California resurrected the band in the 70’s and it has been going
strong ever since. The band has seven CDs and a DVD. It has played all the major festivals on the West Coast and has
toured in six countries (maybe more!).
One of the most engaging qualities of the band is showmanship. They are not hokey but they have a great sense of
humor. Their emcee, Bill Gunter, a washboard player who also plays with the Boondockers, is a treasure trove of
stories and one liners.
I’d love to see these guys make an appearance in our neck of the woods! How about the 2008 Festival?