Welcome! This blog is devoted to my favorite music, including the jazz and “hot dance” music of the pre-World War II era with some occasional writing about Baroque and early Classical music from Europe.

I am proud to have contributed to All About JazzBoston Classical ReviewThe Boston Musical Intelligencer, Early Music America‘s print and online editions, The Syncopated Times, and this blog. I also work as a freelance copyeditor and writer. Please feel free to contact me if I might be of any help to you.

I’m not a professional musician or scholar. This is a personal blog based on my subjective opinions with some limited independent research. Hopefully, it can still attract new listeners, intrigue familiar ones, and encourage scholars and professional writers to investigate these topics in greater detail. Above all, this blog is here to encourage discussion that will shed light on the music.

Some older posts may not reflect my current viewpoint.


28 thoughts on “About

  1. Perfesser M. Figg says:

    Credit where credit is due…

    That adorably thought-provoking cartoon that I am lucky to share with readers is the work of Matteo Bertelli, and can be found here.

  2. Hello,
    I am working on a jazz documentary and I would like to contact you via email directly.
    Thank you,
    Valeria Rios

  3. […] Cool in Your Ears, Not Cold in the Ground Skip to content HomeAnd We’re Back…About ← India’s Jazz Age, for Your […]

  4. Andrew Homzy says:


    It has been well documented that Monk was inspired by Mary Lou William’s “Walkin’ And Swingin'” – “Rhythm-a-ning” – and John Kirby’s “Pastel Blue” – “Blue Monk”.

    Thanks to your blog, this morning, I discovered that Bob Zurke’s performance of “Tea For Two”, with the Bob Crosby Band in 1938, is the genesis of Monk’s still-unique version of the same tune. Recorded in New York, March 10, 1938 for Decca.

    Zurke’s spectacular reharmonization begins at 2:39 –

    In Chicago, on January 18, 1940, Zurke returned to Youman’s theme, recording it with his own big band – Bob Zurke and his Delta Rhythm Band. At 2:17, there begins an even more extensive, i.e. full chorus reharmonization. Monk could have heard this version as it was issued on Victor & was probably widely distributed.

    The 1940 version has been reissued on HEP CD – and is available on iTunes.

    I would love to hear the version Squirrel Ashcraft recorded in Chicago, 1938 – a duo of Zurke and Joe Rushton on clarinet.

    Zurke was also mentioned “Jelly Roll” Morton as a favorite contemporary player. As told to historian Alan Lomax on May 23, 1938, “There’s only a very few jazz pianists, if there’s any, that as I state today. So far as the present time, musicians as pianists, I don’t know of but only one that have a tendency to be on the right track, and that’s Bob Zurke of Bob Crosby Band. Far as the rest of ’em, all I can see is ragtime pianists in a very fine form.””

    Bob Zurke died on February 16, 1944, just weeks after his 32nd birthday.



  5. saana lehtonen says:

    Hello Andrew! You posted a great photo of bass clarinet In your post from Jun 24 2013 “Jazz Bass Clarinet Before Dolphy”. I was wondering if it would be ok to use it in a e-book that I’m editing. It’s a music education book for elementary students. Let me know!

  6. billysobczyk says:

    This blog makes me happy. I love the tone and sincerity of your writing. I too am a non-musician, non-professional whose taste-for and interest-in early jazz preceeds my knowledge of the form, and your blog has served as a guide that I can relate to, not as an intimidating know-it-all encyclopedia. Thank you.

    I was saddened last year when you wrote that you were giving it up. I foolishly never came back to check it after that and today I find that there is a lot of new material for me to dig into. Oh joy! I need to pace myself. Keep up the good work.

    • Andrew J. Sammut says:

      I am embarrassed that after receiving compliments for my writing that all I can say is “wow.” Thank you so much for reading, for reaching out and above all for such kind words. It is honestly so very rewarding to know that this blog has been helpful.

  7. How serendipitous to have stumbled upon your article about Larry Binyon, AND that today, of all days, I should find it on his birthday! Larry was my father-in-law!
    In the sixties I accompanied him to many recording sessions when he was an agent for the Musicians Union Local 47. It was a wonderful treat to tag along with him for dinner at Musso and Frank Grille before a session. He possessed a wonderful sense of humor and I loved hearing his stories about “the good old days” in Chicago and new York.
    Sadly, I heard him play the flute only once. I walked in as he was sitting on the bed playing a very sweet tune for his ill, 8 year old step-daughter. I was delighted to have heard at least 45 seconds before he discovered that I was listening. I asked him to please continue…but he declined. He always called me “Daughter”…and I recall him saying, “Daughter, there is nothing sadder than an old cat who has lost his lip.” It made me sad…
    Shortly thereafter he developed leukemia, lung cancer, and had suffered a mild heart attack, his third marriage ended and came to live with us. Those were bittersweet days, filled with his wonderful stories, laughter and tears. I loved him dearly and after my marriage to his son, Claude, ended, I continued my relationship with him.
    I loved reading your article and I’m thrilled that you have remembered him in your article for the talented guy he was. Thank you! He will live forever in my heart…
    Elena Binyon Kern

    • Andrew J. Sammut says:

      Thank you so much for writing and sharing these memories of your father-in-law! Mr. Binyon’s versatility and sound/style on multiple instruments has impressed me for a long time and it was fascinating to research his life and music. It is a pleasure to hear that you enjoyed this article and I really appreciate your providing further insights into this remarkable musician.

  8. Bruce Mercer says:

    I’m navigating down the Golden Gate road and find myself here. I have struck gold! I cannot listen or read fast enough.

    • Andrew J. Sammut says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share such kind words! I’m very glad that you’re enjoying this website. All the best to you, Bruce.

  9. James A. Drake says:

    In this and future articles about the ragtime-to-jazz transition, you may want to include the two 1912-1913 discs that Gus Haenschen made with the drummer in his native St. Louis. Both recordings were discussed by Allen Lowe in “That Devilin’ Tune,” and are now available on YouTube. Search “Sunset Medley” and “Country Club Medley,” in which Haenschen plays a song he wrote which later became “Underneath the Japanese Moon” (with lyrics by Gene Buck) in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1914. I was fortunate to know Gus Haenschen quite well, and I know that he recorded the two medleys before 1914, not in 1916 as some sources have claimed.

    • Andrew J. Sammut says:

      I’m actually going to copy your comment and add it to the comments on the rag-a-jazz article on this website. Thank you for commenting and sharing ideas for further listening/understanding.

  10. Rob Chalfen says:

    I’m quite interested in that session – do you happen to know if they were cut in St. Louis of NYC? I’m trying to collate all sides from the session – Rust (1974) lists only Maple Leaf Rag (M61070) and Admiration – I recently acquired Admiration (M 61071) and Honky Tonky (M61068), the Chris Smith tune, which I believe is published closer to 1916. The titles I have feature a larger group with banjos/tipples, piano & trombone.

  11. Carol Catherine says:

    Hello! New here and just found your wonderful blog. What a wealth of information! I actually discovered while searching for information on my grandfather William S. Fletcher who played trombone and sang with the Jean Goldkette Orchestra and the Hotel Tuller Orchestra in Detroit. He also played in the pit band for the Fox Theatre and knew the Dorsey brothers. We don’t have much information about his career and would love any information and pictures you might have. If you look, he sings lead on a couple of Goldkette’s records!

    • AJS says:

      Hello, Carol! Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for your kind words about my blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have any information or materials about your grandfather but I recommend that you post on Albert Haim’s Bixography forum:
      Dr. Haim’s website is an incredible repository for information about Bix Beiderbecke and his associates (including Jean Goldkette’s band) as well as a virtual meeting space for listeners, researchers and collectors around the world to share their knowledge. I think that this forum is a great place for your own research. Good luck!

  12. Roy Vombrack says:

    I enjoyed seeing our Jazz Consortium Big Band sax section photo in your interesting 2013 post about Big Band sax sections! Keep up the good work! —Roy Vombrack

  13. Tim Greiving says:

    Hi Andrew. I’m looking for any information on Joe Herlihy’s band, specifically the involvement of Johnny Williams the drummer. Your blog post was a great find, and I’m wondering if you have any other detailed accounts or documentation, or could point me in the right direction. Thank you!

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