Chapter Six by Frank Katzenmeyer
Saturday, July 18, 98 was the best night since opening in January. The 42nd St. 18 member big band was in the ballroom, a Latin Band in the front downstairs room , and a jazz trio in the cafe. The 42nd St Band is led by a very personable Bob Boyd. He is an accomplished piano player, arranger, and composer. An all event ticket could be purchased for the evening letting patrons mingle anywhere in the building. Tom Tirrato was the male vocalist, dressed in tuxedo as well as the band musicians.
Around the corner a couple of blocks on 9th Ave. was the intimate lounge "Jazz Cellar" owned and operated by Dick Rumore, also the owner of Paragon Music Center and had his own Jazz Cellar Big Band. An 88 black and white key replica of a piano was the bar. The small stage had matchbox dance floors on each side of it. Kat Hefner was performing that night. At intermission time she walked to the Sugar Palm and sang with Tom and the 42nd St. Band She with her long slinky white gown and Tom in his tux; they looked and sounded great. Before she went back I managed to get a couple of dances. I had known her and Russ Maddox, her agent, from previous engagements.
The Bay Area had a lot of great musicians at that time. Marcus Hampton (nephew of the great Lionel Hampton) was lead trumpet in the 42ndSt. band and owner of Hampton House of Jazz. The outlet was great for musicians and singers to show their talent.
I was doing my share of intermission dances by now (being persuaded by Taylor) One Sunday Evening an attractive lady brought her daughter and friends. She said she hadn't seen jitterbugging like that in a long time. She started coming on the Friday and Saturday dances. We did the shows for a time. She was a good partner.
-Carol and Frank-
One drizzly summer evening Taylor asked Connie and me to walk to the Rare Olive to check out a new band on 16th St. and 7th Ave. As we were walking the onlookers were doing the staring. Hadn't seen anything like that unless one grew up in Ybor, in days gone by. We went into the Rare Olive, admission being waived, as normally done in a club area for employees of other clubs. The Yuppies were standing around, but no dancing. After we danced a couple and talked with the band we headed back. What do you think? Taylor asked. Pretty good , but not great, I answered. Not polished enough for the Sugar Palm Taylor replied, maybe later. Later would be right. Bombed Out Cat would become one of the best Swing Bands around.
-Chics and more Chics-
As weeks went by it was apparent that this was the place to be seen. The Classy Well-Dressed Chics were coming from miles around. Many of "the non-dancing men" thought this was the place for one night stands. How disappointed they were. Dan Electro and Silvertones tells the story with the song "Sugar Palm Nights" recorded on the CD "Reason to Lie". # 7 on the CD tells it all.
To be continued...