Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Shining Trumpet of Eddie Patrowicz

By Chet Williamson

A parade of notable trumpeters have marched in and out of Worcester County over the years, namely Irving Peskin, Wendell Culley, Barney Price, Don Fagerquist, Ziggy Kelly, Emil Haddad and more recently, Jerry Sabatini and Bill Fanning, among others. A great player deserving wider recognition is Eddie Patrowicz.

In his illustrious career, his cornet and trumpet were heard in the company of such legendary figures as Leo Reisman, Eddie Duchin, George Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. His clarion call also sounded behind singers Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra. 



Petrowicz was born to Polish immigrants in Dudley on September 26, 1904. Largely self-taught, young Eddie was surrounded by music as a child. His father Frank, played the euphonium. His brother Stanley, played the trombone. They were a household of brass players and members of the Pulaski Brass Band, an organization that began in 1889. The popular group performed at social engagements throughout the southern New England region during the Patrowicz family tenure. 

Frank Patrowicz top row, third from the left, circa 1922
Frank, brother Stanley, and Eddie

By the time Eddie was in junior high school he was already helping the family’s collective income by playing in local orchestras. Appearing with one such ensemble at Beacon Park in Webster at the tender age of 16, Patrowicz would soon leave school to pursue music full-time.

“Unhappily I know little about my father’s life in his early formative years,” says son, Dr. Tully Patrowicz. “It was my understanding that he worked as a ‘bobbin boy’ in the Slater Mills in Webster. He completed two years of high school. Apparently at that time his affinity and talent with both cornet and primarily trumpet launched him into a full time career as a musician.”  


When asked if his father received any musical training, Tully says, “I am not sure what if any formal training my father had. I do clearly recall that he was devoted to daily practicing several hours using the Arban Book of Scales. I often asked him to play something recognizable, which would delight me. My favorites were ‘Carnival of Venice’ and ‘Napoli,’ which I first heard played by Red Nichols on 78 RPM records. I am under the impression that there was a lot of self-directed learning in those early years as the family was far from affluent.”



The Webster Times, 1920

In 1921 at 17, Eddie Patrowicz joined the Swan Serenaders, a Worcester-based band led by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader, Einar Swan, who later gained fame and immortality as the author of the deathless torch song, “When Your Lover Has Gone.”

The Serenaders were essentially a teenage band, hell bent on playing the new music known as jazz. It’s not known how Patrowicz hooked up with the crew, but he was in the right place at the right time and evidently arrived with the right stuff. Early pictures of the group show Billy Conn as the trumpeter with the Serenaders, who would become a prominent local bandleader in this own right. 

The Swan Serenaders played together from 1922 to 1924. Webster, Dudley, Southbridge and other towns in Southern Massachusetts were their stomping grounds as well as Worcester. They also ventured beyond the confines of New England, appearing in Pennsylvania, New York and Florida. 



Their business card read: “Swanie’s Serenaders. Have played Keith and Poli’s Circuits – Our engagement – Your Success.” Playing the Keith and Poli circuits meant they performed in venues owned and operated by Benjamin Franklin Keith and Sylvester Zefferino Poli, who were two of the most prominent vaudeville promoters and theater agents in the country at the time.

In 1923, members of the Serenaders appeared under the name of the Palais Royal Players, which were affiliated with the Paul Whiteman Palais Royal Orchestra. Both bands took its name from the famous Palais Hotel, which was a large café and nightclub in Times Square in New York City.

In September of that year they received mention in the Norwalk Hour, a Connecticut daily newspaper. The headline read: “Night of the Big Dance of Craftsmen’s Quarry Will be Marked by Presence of the Palais Royal Orchestra in Pavilion.” The piece stated:  “Following their appearance here, the Palais Royal players will play for an Allington, Penn., syndicate. During the coming winter they will play at the Ormond Hotel, Fla. The orchestra is making a big hit on its stay here, especially the quartet selections.” 

Whether the name change was a marketing ploy by Keith or Poli is not known, but the band was essentially the Serenaders, consisting of Swan, who is listed as the saxophonist and leader with pianist Sam Swenson, violinist Julius Levinsky, drummer Ernest Pahl, bass horn player Oscar Werme, cornet and trumpeters Leon Kroll and Edward Patrowicz, trombonist George Trupe, and banjoist Joseph T. Toscano.

The dance was held at Roton Point in Norwalk, CT. The reviewer also noted that audiences at the venue were “listening to the best music in its history, is the consensus of opinion of all who have been attending the park since the Palais Royal Orchestra, Paul Whiteman’s unit came here. Everyone, including even those who do not dance but merely come to hear, says that manager Neville Bayley of the park should have had the players here earlier in the season. Much hope is being expressed that the players will be here next year.”

Einar Swan
A year later, Swan was off to New York to stay. In 1924 he was hired by Victor Lopez to play at the famous Roseland Gardens. Oscar Werme was enlisted into the ranks of Whiteman’s bands. Patrowicz would also join his bandmates in the Big Apple a few years later. He spent the next four years working with the Will Hardy Orchestra, a popular band that played to sellout crowds on Martha’s Vineyard.

Hardy was a songwriter from Worcester who wrote “Tivoli Girl,” a tune named after the Tivoli dance Hall in Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard. In her book, Martha’s Vineyard, Bonnie Stacy said Hardy wrote the song to capitalize on the popularity of the dance hall. Originally called the Cottage City Casino it opened in 1901 and closed in 1964. It had the distinction of housing the Flying Horses Carousel, which was moved to the Vineyard from Coney Island in 1884.

In their book, Music on Martha’s Vineyard: A History of Harmony authors Thomas Dresser and Jerold Muskin described the dance hall: “Easily identified by two towers, one at either end, the Tivoli was a large wooden structure, painted yellow. The second floor ballroom opened up onto a wide veranda, which allowed dance music to flow outside.”

The authors also mention Will Hardy, taking quotes from the Vineyard Gazette and Railton’s History of Martha’s Vineyard. “In the 1930s some of the nation’s best-known dance bands entertained in brief stands on weekends, but it was Will Hardy’s sextet that created the magic of the Tivoli. You didn’t have to dance to feel the Tivoli magic. Thousands were enthralled by the music as they strolled along Circuit Avenue. Band leader and composer Will Hardy ran the Tivoli ballroom from 1915 to 1931. Hardy’s “endearing, all-time favorite ‘Tivoli Girl’ is evocative of the era.”


In addition to running what has been described as a “Novelty Orchestra,” Hardy was the publisher of the weekly sheet music serial called The Musical Visitor. The bandleader wrote and published a variety of songs. “Tivoli Girl” dates from 1917, but was an endearing and popular song for islanders for many years. It was certainly in the band’s repertoire when Patrowicz worked with Hardy.

The next band of note that Patrowicz hitched his horn with was the legendary Eddie Duchin. Born in Cambridge in 1909, the pianist intended to be a pharmacist. In fact, he was a graduate of Mass College of Pharmacy, who financed his studies by playing with his campus orchestra.

Duchin at the piano
At 21, Duchin was leading his own band, playing professionally around Boston. Patrowicz may or may not have played in this band. According to the Pittsburgh Press, soon after obtaining his degree, Duchin took a job with Leo Reisman at the old Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. “At the end of the season, Mr. Duchin formed his own orchestra. Success came almost immediately.”

This is more likely, where Patrowicz worked with Duchin, which eventually led to the trumpeter becoming a longtime member of the Reisman orchestra. Patrowicz’ son, Tully recalls many conversations with his father about his musical career. “With regard to dad's association with Eddy Duchin, he had said that he was a roommate with Eddy Duchin. However, I really never knew more of their relationship or what the time frame was. It is my impression that Leo Reisman brought Eddy Duchin to NYC'S Central Park Casino but subsequently Duchin left Reisman to form his own Eddy Duchin Orchestra.

Central Park Casino, New York, New York
“Whether or not my father was in Eddy Duchin's Orchestra full time or freelance or at all I can't be sure. Apparently from a brief review of the tomes of Brian Rust's American Dance Band Discography 1917-42, it appears that Eddie Duchin in 1929 was recording on the Victor label as Leo Reisman's pianist.”

Acccording to Karl Reisman, Leo’s son, his father moved to New York in 1928 to open Mayor Jimmy Walker’s Casino in Central Park at 72nd St. and Fifth Avenue. “With him he took a young piano player introduced by his wife’s sister Frieda (later Elsa) who was dating him. His name was Eddy Duchin. In New York at the Casino there were two rooms. Reisman was in one and in the other Emil Coleman was making a hit with his piano playing. So Leo started featuring Eddy Duchin in his arrangements.”


As mentioned, a year later, Duchin struck out on his own and later in the 1930s would even take over the Casino band, keeping many of the songs and arrangements.

Ophthalmologist Tully Patrowicz was born in Flushing, Long Island, NY in 1932. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, he, said ''I think when you grow up in New York, you are bound to be a part of the arts.” The Patrowicz family music tradition already well-established by Tully's parents (his mother Beatrice Lufkin Patrowicz a student of piano) thought it natural that their son would discover that piano studies are a basis for understanding music's many wonders. Tully now bemoans, "I live with my father's words to this very moment: ‘You will be sorry someday that you didn't practice.’ What my father didn't say is that I would be sorry every day.”

However, all was not lost on Tully. He states that, "not only was there the influence of my parents but also there was that of the many musicians in our Long Island neighborhood that ensured that I would gain a deep-felt appreciation for music and all fine arts for which I will remain eternally grateful.”

Tully says that Eddy Duchin is not mentioned as Reisman's pianist in the discography reference after 1930-31. He also notes that his father didn’t appear with Reisman on record until a few years later. “My father first came on the Brunswick label recording scene as Reisman's first trumpet on March 15, 1934 according to the discography reference,” he says. Which means, Patrowicz may have worked with Duchin during the period of 1929 to 1934.

Patrowicz, back row, third from left
Leo Reisman
Reisman was born in Boston in 1897 and according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame “began studying the violin at age ten and by his early teens was performing with hotel bands and in 1919 formed his own band.”

Jerome Kern dubbed Reisman’s orchestra, “The String Quartet of Dance Bands.” In addition to Duchin, his ensembles featured such pianists Harold Arlen, Nat Brandywynne and Johnny Green. His vocalists included Fred Astaire, Lee Wiley and Dinah Shore.

The Hall of Fame noted that from “1921 through 1941, the Reisman Orchestra recorded nearly 80 hits on the pop charts including the #1 recordings of ‘The Wedding of the Painted Doll’ (1929), ‘Paradise’ (1932), ‘Night and Day’ (1932), ‘Stormy Weather’ (1933) and ‘The Continental (You Kiss While You’re Dancing)’ (1934).”

Reisman orchestra, 1937
Patrowicz followed such notable trumpeters as Johnny Dunn, Bubber Miley and Max Kaminsky with Reisman. Dunn was considered the king of New York jazz cornet players in the 1920s. Miley, who followed Dunn in Mamie Smith’s band, was also a soloist with Duke Ellington. His tenure was 1930-31. Brockton born Max Kaminsky is a legendary figure of the New England traditional jazz scene.

Reisman orchestra
It could be argued that the years Patrowicz spent with Reisman were his glory years in the music business. He recorded, traveled extensively, and played in the company of some the most famous musicians and singers of the day with the bandleader.

“I do remember that dad traveled with Reisman's Orchestra to France & Monaco by passenger liner before WW II hostilities began,” Tully says. “I also remember that dad was with Leo Reisman seated as first trumpet for many years during the 1940s, during which time the orchestra's primary full-time venue was NYC's Saint Regis Hotel, a venue for the enjoyment of many of the world's celebrities.

The history books and various discographies only report Patrowicz as having recorded less than a dozen sides with Reisman, but given the years with the orchestra, the trumpeter may be incorrectly documented. Tully explains: “The discography reference is not clear as later references for Reisman's first trumpet may still be my father under the alias of Frank Petrilli.”

"The String Quartet of Dance Bands"
According to the November 6, 1975 edition of the Worcester Telegram, Patrowicz traveled extensively throughout this country, Europe and South America and associated with “some of the biggest names in the music business, including Arturo Toscanni, who was director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, Russ Columbo, Eddie Duchin, Paul Whiteman, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, George Gershwin and Tommy Dorsey.”

One of the Gershwin performances happened in Worcester. From the book George Gershwin: His Life and Work by Howard Pollack, the author writes, “To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin and Harry Askins, the theater manager who introduced him to Max Drefus in 1917, launched an extensive 1934 road tour featuring the composer and the Leo Reisman Orchestra performing not only the Rhapsody but a new work composed specifically for the occasion, the Variations on “I Got Rhythm” for piano and orchestra.”

The Telegram also reported that Patrowicz played in “musical movies, on radio and in vaudeville. He played in the White House during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. He played trumpet behind many vocalists including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.”

“After the Reisman years were over,” Tully says, “much of my father's work was freelance on Broadway, with the NBC Symphony, Cruise Ships (notably the SS United States), playing for the United States Merchant Marine Academy Reviews at King's Point, Long Island and at  private teaching."

In 1964, at the age of 60, Eddie and his wife, Beatrice moved back to his hometown of Dudley. “He loved the area,” says Joanne Gagnon, Eddie’s niece. “He loved the hills around here. He and his wife returned to the area. They built a home on Dudley Hill not far from Nichols College, ran their little Gift Shop in Quinebaug, CT while Uncle Eddie taught music."


Patrowicz continued to play music professionally. He led a band called the Villagers that played regularly at the Colonial Restaurant in Webster and worked in Ray Stone’s Big Band at the Stateline Casino.

Now 85, Gagnon recalls her uncle fondly. “I thought the world of him,” she says. “If he played the Colony, my husband and I would go for dinner and a dance. I was proud of him. I saw him many times. He kept playing. He used to say, ‘I want to keep my lip up.’”

In the last four years of his life, Patrowicz and his group Eddie’s Trio, were featured weekly at the Publick House in Sturbridge. He also continued teaching privately and one day a week at Annhurst College in Woodstock Conn.

“As a child growing up in a musical family it was apparent that my father’s whole professional life and dedication was to music and the joy it brought others,” Tully says. “As a seasoned musician, he was fortunate to have traveled widely and to have played and performed with many wonderful colleagues and orchestras both popular and classical.”

On November 5, 1975, Edward F. “Eddie” Patrowicz died at Hubbard Regional Hospital after a brief illness. He was 71.

“Although I will never know all about my dear father, I do know that his kindness, warm humor and smile -- and most of all -- his love of life, family, music and musicianship have provided a legacy that all of our family can be proud of for all of the many years to come,” Tully says.


Note: Special thanks to Dr. Tully Patrowicz, Joanne Gagnon, and Carla Manzi for their assistance.

This is a work in progress. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome at: chromatic@charter.net. Also see: www.worcestersongs.blogspot.com  Thank you.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Big Noyes from Worcester

By Chet Williamson

He is a ghost. Largely forgotten – even in the history books -- he was a member of the first generation of American jazz musicians to play Europe. He is Ted Noyes, Worcester’s jazz ambassador.

On paper, his career is the envy of any aspiring musician. He played with the best and traveled the world. In the Jazz Age of the 1920s, when the exciting new “hot” music fit the burgeoning new century’s rapidly changing lifestyle, Noyes was in the center of the action.

Very little is known of his early life. People called him by his nickname “Ted,” but his given name was Edwin J. Noyes, who was born in Worcester on May 7, 1899. According to Jack Grady, his grand-nephew, his parents were Edwin C. Noyes, of old Yankee stock, dating back to the arrival of the Puritans in the 1620s.

“Ted’s mother was an immigrant from Ireland named Bridget Kiely. Family legend has it that Ted’s father’s family disowned him for marrying an Irish Catholic,” Grady says. “Ted’s father was a fire chief, who was hired by Norton Company to start up their fire department. Ted’s older sister, Anne Noyes, married my grandfather, Edward Grady. Ted was always interested in drums and was attracted to the earliest jazz and ragtime, which he heard in New Orleans when he was with the Army in Texas. He went over to Europe with the AEF [American Expeditionary Forces] in 1918 and fell in love with Paris and the jazz that was being played by some of the American servicemen there.”



In Worcester, the Noyes family first lived at 8 Hanover Street, which before the construction of the 290 expressway, was connected to Prospect Street. This puts them in the Laurel/Clayton neighborhood, an area where a band of notable Worcester musicians grew up including, Wendell Cully, Barney Price, Howie Jefferson, Reggie Walley, and Jaki Byard.



Living in that neighborhood, one could assume he attended Edward Street Elementary School and Commerce High School, but there is no public record available to be verified. What we do know is that, Edwin J. “Ted” Noyes was a doughboy in WWI, who served with the 104th infantry, 26th Division, during which time he received the Silver Star for heroism. He was also decorated by the French government for heroism in action. This hellacious time spent in the European theater would later prove to be invaluable experience for Noyes as both a musician and soldier.

The Paul Specht Orchestra. Noyes is third from left
Frank Guarente
As for his musical life, Noyes was barely a blip on the local radar and virtually silent on the regional and national landscape until the 1920s. He then became "le hot jazz batterie." His first gig of prominence was with trumpeter Frank Guarente, who according to writer Frank Powers, may have been “the first musician born outside the United States to have impact as a jazz musician and innovator in America.”

Born Francesco Saverio Guarente in Montemiletto, Italy in 1893, he led a band known as “The World Known Georgians,” in which Noyes first appeared in 1924. “Guarente is particularly unique through his exceptional skills as a trumpeter, composer, and leader, in addition to his witness of, and participation in, the development of New Orleans jazz, New York jazz, and the commercial music scene of the 1930s.


"There is good evidence that Joe "King" Oliver, Freddie Keppard, and Nick LaRocca influenced Guarente, and that he reciprocated by sharing his "legitimate" music knowledge with them. There is also evidence that Frank Guarente was an influence on Bix Beiderbecke. Guarente was also present in the first wave of American jazz players to invade Europe in the mid-'20s,” says Powers.

Guarente’s family came to America first residing in Allentown, PA, before moving to New Orleans. He is said to have traded lessons with Papa Joe “King” Oliver, offering his classical training in exchange for Oliver’s jazz schooling. Guarente's first gig of notoriety was with Charlie Kerr’s Orchestra in Philadelphia in 1920, a band that featured the young Italian banjo player, Eddie Lang. 

Powers says by 1921, Guarente was in New York City organizing a new band that featured “Arthur Schutt, a skilled novelty and jazz pianist and advanced arranger, and drummer Chauncey Morehouse, who would later anchor the famous Jean Goldkette rhythm section. Society bandleader Paul Specht heard the group and incorporated them into his orchestra. Many call this the first ‘band within a band,’ anticipating groups like Bob Crosby's Bobcats and Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven. Guarente's group would adopt the name of the Georgians and make a series of 42 excellent jazz recordings for Columbia starting in 1922, continuing until shortly after Guarente's departure in 1924.”




Although the dates are sketchy, there are accounts of Noyes performing with Paul Specht and the Society Serenaders in the early ‘20s. He was not with the Georgians during this time. Drummer Morehouse held that chair from 1922-24. Paul Specht’s Society Serenaders hailed from Detroit. They are a band of historical significance. In his book, From On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, John Dunning says, “As early as 1921 stations were experimenting with band music over direct wires from remote locations. The first dance bands to broadcast were probably Paul Specht, Vincent Lopez, and the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks. Specht is believed by Thomas A. DeLong and others to have made the first studio broadcast of dance music.”

Written by local musician EA Swan
In addition to Guarente and Noyes, a partial list of musicians to traipsed through the ranks of the Specht orchestras include Hal Kemp, Russ Morgan, Ted Weems, Joe Venuti, Artie Shaw, Charlie Spivak, and Lou Breese, among others. Specht himself, claims to have invented symphonic jazz, later exploited by Paul Whiteman. According to Powers, the recordings that Guarente made with Specht and the Georgians are what made the trumpeter’s reputation as a jazz improviser. “Guarente's ability as both a musician and a leader prompted Paul Specht to declare him ‘irreplaceable.’ Guarente and the Georgians were on board when the Specht band sailed for England in the summer of 1923. The tremendous success of the Georgians in London and Paris must have suggested to both Specht and Guarente that Europe offered real opportunity.”


Noyes also recorded sides with the Specht orchestra for Columbia. The tunes are “Some Other Day, Some Other Girl” backed by “You and I,” and “Oh, Peter" backed by “Bye Bye Baby.” Both were recorded on November 11, 1924.

The Georgians with drummer Ted Noyes
The "World Known" Georgians, Noyes is fourth from right. 
Noyes may have been on that first trip, but no record is found as of yet. However, the following spring, Guarente travelled back to Europe with a newly reformed Georgians with him at the helm. From 1924-26, Guarente and the New Georgians made several trips across the pond and traveled throughout the continent.

Grady says according to jazz discographer Brian Rust, Noyes played in two recording sessions for Columbia with the Georgians. The dates are November 18 and 24, 1924. The other members of the Georgians were Charles Butterfield, Frank Kilduff, Henry Wade, Arthur Schutt, Roy Smeck, and Noyes. The tunes are “My Best Girl” and Everybody Loves My Baby.”

In early 1925, Red Nichols joined the Georgians. Noyes recorded four tunes with the band. Two as the Georgians: “Charleston Baby, O’ Mine,” “Are They Pickin’ on Your Baby.” Two more as Paul Specht’s Georgians: “Are You Sorry?” and “Smile All the While.” 

Also in 1925, no doubt during a stop-over in between tours, Noyes recorded a couple of sides with Billy Lustig’s Scranton Sirens, a band that once featured the brothers Dorsey, Jimmy and Tommy. Recorded by Okeh in New Orleans, the tunes are “Common Street Blues,” and “Why Should I Believe in You?”




On his highly respected website, jazz writer Albert Haim noted that Raymond Mitchell, in his Eddie Lang biography, said that the guitarist "joined Scranton Sirens in 1924 and opened at Beaux Arts Cafe in Philadelphia on New Year's Day.” The personnel he cites were Vic D'Ippolito, Tommy Dorsey, Alfie Evans, Jimmy Crossman, Sid Trucker, Irving Ruskin, Mike Trafficante, and Ted Noyes. Billy Lustig was its leader. He also pointed out that in 1925, the Scranton Sirens recorded in New Orleans.


The Syphonians, led by Noyes



In 1926, the New Georgians recorded in Switzerland for the Kalophon label. Noyes is listed as the drummer for these obscure sessions. Only released in Europe, the tunes are “Boneyard Shuffle,” “Georgians Blues,” “Hard to Get Gertie,” “Lonely Acres,” “Lonesome and Sorry,” and “Valencia.” Along with Guarente and Noyes, the band is completed by Eddie Bave (clarinet, alto), Harold Connelly (tenor and baritone), Arthur German (banjo), Joe Murray (piano), Ben Pickering (trumpet and trombone), and Jack Ryan (bass brass).


According to Grady, when two members of the band, including Guarente quit to join the Savoy Orpheans – led by Clinton’s Carroll Gibbons, who wrote “Garden in the Rain” -- the touring Georgians disbanded. “Ted then took over the group and renamed it the Symphonians,” he says. “The group had a number of long engagements in the Netherlands before going to Paris. In Paris, Ben Pickering, the trombonist, quit to join the Playboys and with that the Symphonians disbanded, and Ted became the drummer of the Paris-based Gaumont Palace Orchestra, under the direction of a young Enoch Light.”
Enoch Light

Henry Parsons posted a clip of the Gaumont band playing a tune called, “She’s Some Baby.” Here his notes: “Something of a mystery disc. The label on the reverse side is stamped ‘Old Montmartre -- 6/8 One Step executé par le Jazz du Gaumont-Palace.’ Based on auditory evidence this side is by the same band, though the title has been stamped twice and the artist isn't credited. Someone has written ‘Columbia’ in blue wax pencil on both labels which suggests that it may be a French Columbia pressing.

“The presence of the copyright royalty stamps indicates that this was not a test pressing but most likely a semi-private issue produced for sale or distribution at the Gaumont Palace Cinema in Paris (where the band was probably resident.) Any information on the artist, composer or label would be gratefully received.” 


Parsons also said that it was recorded circa 1930 in France for “an unidentified label, this recording is long out-of-copyright. This side has been re-mastered from an original 78rpm record by this user and is a unique transfer.”

The Gaumont Palace, the biggest movie theatre in Europe at the time, was a re-construction of the famous Hippodrome Theatre built in 1900. Leon Gaumont purchased the building in the nineteen teens and re-opened it as a cinema. In the 1930s, Enoch Light studied conducting with the French conductor Maurice Frigara in Paris. He would later become vice-president of Grand Award Records and owner of Command Records.


Grady says that after the breakup of the Symphonians and Noyes joined the Gaumont Palace Orchestra. He recorded the following 14 sides with that band for Odeon Records. The tunes are “S’Wonderful,” “Blue Baby,” “He’s a Ladies Man,” “Faust,” “Dream of Love and You,” “Carmen,” “My Heart Stood Still,” “What Do You Say?” “Paillasse,” “Werther,” “Blue Shadows,” “Cavalleria rusticana,” and “Sweet Sue.” “Thus, between the Georgians, Paul Specht, the Sirens, the New World Georgians, and the Gaumont Palace Orchestra, Ted was on a total of 34 sides,” Grady says. 

In 1928, Noyes and the Gaumont Palace Orchestra played performances in Paris and other cities and towns throughout France. He also said that they toured many other countries in Europe, as well and recorded 16 or 18 sides for an unknown label. “When they were on tour in Italy, Ben Pickering, who was then playing with Carlo Benzi’s Ambassadors, based in Milan, talked Ted into leaving the Light’s group and joining Benzi’s band,” Grady says.

Carlo Benzi's Ambassadors with Noyes on drums.

The year was 1929. In his book, Jazz in Italia author Adriano Mazzoletti noted that the Ambassadors were the jazz band in Italy and only garnered more attention and jazz authenticity after hiring American musicians. A year later, Noyes was back in the states.

In an e-mail exchange with Grady, the author said: “Carlo Benzi, alto sax and leader of Ambassadors Jazz Band from Milano, played in Paris (at Abbaye de Thélème) during winter 1924-1925.  In the same period, Frank Guarente and his Georgians era in Paris too. Benzi and his piano-player Milietto Nervetti met Guarente and his musicians (Ben Pickering and Ted Noyes).

In fact in 1929, when Carlo Benzi organized a very important international band in Milano (Hotel Diana), he asked Noyes and Pickering to join the band. Meanwhile, Ted Noyes was in Italy with Enoch Light & his Light Brigade. This band with trumpet player Edward "Nibs" Dorsey, played in Roma (Apollo), Milano and other cities. When the tour with Light ended, Noyes and Dorsey joined Benzi.”

“With the depression finally hitting Europe, though, American musicians found it increasingly difficult to get jobs, as the musicians’ organizations in the European countries were trying to ensure that their own nationals had jobs,” Grady says. “After a period with the Ambassadors, Ted went back to Paris, but soon decided that it would be best to return to America, which he did on the Berengaria, departing from Cherbourg, France, and arriving in New York on March 28, 1930.”

Grady says that when Ted returned from Europe, he got married. “In the midst of a Depression and with a wife, he had to try to get real work instead of continuing with a musician's life in New York, Philly, and other places where he played. He sold typewriters for a while, then rejoined the military. No doubt the need for financial security had much to do with his decisions.”




Though Noyes and his bride are listed in the Worcester Directory as living at 8 Abbott Street, with the drummer identified as a musician, no other record is known of him working at this occupation. As the winds of war blew across the Atlantic, Noyes re-enlisted.

The February 28, 1946 edition of the Worcester Telegram ran an article with this headline: “France Honors Colonel Noyes.” It read: “The French provisional government has awarded Lt. Col. Edwin J. Noyes of 40 Island Drive, the Order of the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre with Palm and the rank of Chevalier for ‘exceptional services rendered in the course of operations for the liberation of France.’

“Word of the decorations was received today by Lt. Col. Noyes, who was called to active duty as a second lieutenant on May 10, 1942, and went overseas Jun 1, 1942, with the Air Force. He served with the American and Allied Expeditionary Air Forces as intelligence officer. He came home Aug. 14 to attend an advanced air intelligence school and was preparing to return overseas when the war ended.”

The article also noted that Noyes was “now on terminal leave and recently re-enlisted in the Army Air Force as a lieutenant on inactive service.”



Of his grand uncle, Grady says, “He's a mystery to me too in a lot of ways. Even his military career is somewhat vague, as many of the records were destroyed in a fire. I have a photo of Ted in uniform in my central hallway. I remember seeing photos of him at my parents' wedding and at my baptism. My father was always trying to get me into jazz and swing. … It was only after my father died that I started doing research on Ted, and, in the process, I fell in love with jazz age music.”

Noyes retired from the military as a full colonel. There is no record of him returning to music in Worcester or elsewhere. At some point the world-class drummer moved to Miami where he died in 1960. He was 61.


The Paul Specht Orchestra with drummer Ted Noyes


Note: Special thanks to Jack Grady for his assistance. 

This is a work in progress. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome at: chromatic@charter.net. Also see: www.worcestersongs.blogspot.com  Thank you.

Resources