Re: Singleton Palmer

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Posted by Jeffrey Chronister on July 02, 1999 at 11:34:06:

In Reply to: Singleton Palmer posted by Jacob on June 30, 1999 at 14:46:19:

I have before me an LP entitled "Dixie by Gaslight" where in Singleton Palmer plays some Dixie standards with his sextet, dixie group. The picture on the front shows him playing on a bell front tuba, four pistons in front with nickel silver slides, not sure what kind of horn this is but could probably find out from the new owner of this horn, if you'd realllly like.

This is my analysis of his playing, pretty darned good dixie solos at times, when he is cooking along with the rhythm section he could pop out some rather nice solos, on tunes like "Chicago" or "Washington and Lee Swing" he could play 3 or 4 "rides" in a row without repeating himself. He and his band were African-American, but there was much gigging around in St. Louis during the 50's and 60's so there was a lot of mixing with members of his band and local white groups. Sing did play (string bass) with Basie from 1948-50. Some of Singleton Palmer's playing wouldn't cut it today, lots of out of tuneness, wavery tone on most notes longer than a quarter note, but still all in all was a GOOD dixie player. His band could really cook, had a good swing to it, but was definitely not studio quality, the clarinet was almost always a quarter tone flat and had a tone that could pierce armor! The improv skills and technical abilities of the trumpet player were somewhat dubious. The trombonist, Leon King, was a bright spot,definitely, in this group, good sound, ideas and technique. The drums and piano did a good job holding things together, nothing flashy, but could really knew how to play ensemble.

The "heydeys" of the Singleton Palmer group could probably be dated from the early 50's to mid 60's. The Palmer group continues to play on to this day although Singleton himself passed away in either 1989 or 90, I can't quite remember.

Soo, although there were better bands in and around St. Louis and hotter players, the Singleton Palmer Band DID stand out as a mainstay and enjoyed longstanding gigs (at least 6 years) at a place called the Opera House, which was located in Gaslight square,,Gaslight square was the St. Lous center for a sort of "Dixie Revival" from around the mid fifties to around 1965.

How's that? Sorry my dates are not all entirely precise, but I hope this gives you at least an idea of what Singleton Palmer and his group were about.

Have a good one :)


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