c. 1958 Assuntos' "Dukes of Dixieland"

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Posted by Joe S. on November 20, 1999 at 22:38:52:

Gee, I know for almost everyone reading this that this is awfully esoteric, but I have stared and stared and stared at their 33 r.p.m. album cover for Volume 7. "Circus Time" since obtaining a copy of it back in the mid-1970's.

The indisputably virtuostic Assunto family (leader/vocalist/trumpeter FRANK - trumpet; FRED - trombone; and 'Papa' JAC - trombone/banjo) went through quite a few different clarinetists and tuba/bass players (all of their bass players played BOTH tuba and bass) during their career, but BARNEY MALLON was undoubtedly the most memorable tuba/bass player, due to his bookmark stylized recording of tuba solo "Asleep in the Deep" with the band, finishing up with a DOUBLE 'pedaltone' F (off of the piano keyboard) at the end. I considered this pretty impressive because #1/ He didn't have the opportunity to "loosen up" ahead of time. #2/ He actually played it. He didn't "fake" it. and #3/ Clearly his 'main' instrument was string bass.


Clearly, on the album jacket, Barney Mallon is posing with a very beautiful fixed upright bell 6/4 4-piston BBb tuba, but WHAT IS IT? The main tuning slide crook looks too wide to be a Holton; It COULD be a Conn, but it seems to me that their (rare) fixed upright bell front-action had a huge 24" bell flair, and the one in the picture looks more like 20"; I am not familiar enough with any of the old Martin tubas (again, the ones that I HAVE seen were detachable models) to eliminate that brand.

Does anyone have a copy of this great old 33 1/3 album? If you do, can you positively identify the tuba that Mr. Mallon posed with for the cover?


P.S. Incidentally, Jack Maheu's (arguably their best-ever clarinet player - even better than Jerry Fulla and Pete Fountain - Yes, Pete played with them for a bit.) clarinet playing on this album was simply stupifying, and defied human limits still without sounding "show-y", nor like he was working particularly hard at what he was doing!
Also, I HAVE positively identified Frank's trumpet as an Olds "Mendez" model.

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