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Byron Berry

The colorful tale of this excellent Bay Area trumpet player is yet to be told.

A Burt Bales pick-up band, 1959
L to R: Joe Darensbourg (clarinet), Bales (piano), Berry, Cuz Cousineau (drums), Ernie Figueroa (bass), Jerry Butzen (trombone), probably at Pier 23.

Berry’s story includes the early days of Yerba Buena, Earl Hines, Kid Ory, the Dude Martin Western Swing band, Pier 23, Bill Erickson and the East Bay jazz gang.


This was recorded at a popular little bar in Berkeley by Dave Greer who has made it available; this is first publication.

With the exception of Oxtot, all these performers are badly under-represented on disc.  This archival performance tape is quite listenable, despite technical flaws.

NODS BAR  May 19, 1960, Berkeley, CA
Byron Berry (trumpet)
Frank Chace (clarinet)
Jerry Butzen (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
bass unknown

I Would Do Anything for You.mp3 (4:04)
Isle of Capri.mp3 (5:34)
Love is Just Around the Corner.mp3 (7:30)
Love Nest.mp3 (1:58; incomplete)
New Orleans.mp3 (4:44)
Riverboat Shuffle.mp3 (4:19)
Sugar.mp3 (6:30)
Struttin' with Some Barbeque.mp3 (4:03)
Oh! Baby_Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (5:00)
Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe_Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (5:15)
You Are My Lucky Star_ Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (4:43)
Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella (on a Rainy Day) Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (3:59)

Berry at “The Ordinary,” Fall 1974

L to R:
Bill Bardin (trombone)
P.T. Stanton (cornet)
Byron Berry (trumpet)
Walter Yost (tuba)

not visible:
Dick Oxtot, banjo
Terry Garthwaite, vocal

(Photo by Joy Berry,
courtesy of Mili Rosenblatt-Bardin)


Like the items above, this JAZZ RHYHTM exclusive was recorded at Nod's bar in Berkeley by Dave Greer.

NODS BAR, April 6, 1960, Berkeley, CA
Byron Berry (trumpet)
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Brett Runkle (washboard)

New Orleans.mp3
Milenberg Joys.mp3
I Would Do Anything for You.mp3
Do You Ever Think of Me.mp3
Weary Blues.mp3
Walkin' with the King.mp3
Shake That Thing.mp3


Piano Player Joe Sullivan's band at the Tin Angel, 1961

Joe Sullivan was dwelling in besotted obscurity in San Francisco during the 1950s and ‘60s.  But he still ‘had it’ when playing a residency at the Tin Angel on the Frisco waterfront in 1961 or ‘62.  Bob Mielke told biographer Jim Goggin that working with him in “a red-hot band . . . was a delight.” 

Never previously published or posted, these tracks seem to have been recorded at the Tin Angel.  Backing Joe’s magnificent keyboard artistry were Byron Berry, Pete Allen (bass) and drummer Bob Osibin who worked there when Kid Ory ran that club as On the Levee.  The bold and luminous clarinet lines of little-known San Francisco native Vince Cattolica are thrilling.

You’re Driving Me Crazy
Love is Just Around the Corner
Sweet Lorraine
(What Did I do to be So) Black and Blue
Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home   

Sullivan set complete   

Probably New Orleans Jazz Club of Northern California, San Francisco, CA

Byron Berry (trumpet)
John Smith (tenor, soprano & clarinet?)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Jim Cummings (string bass)
and possibly others

You’re Driving Me Crazy.mp3 (8:18)

Thanks to Earl Scheelar.


“The Fabulous Byron Berry –
Pier 23 Polecats, April 11, 1960"

"Recording by  Jack Stratford, initiated by Grayson ‘Ken’ Mills.  Recorded zon Wollensack tape recorder with stock microphone.  Personnel identified by Jerry Stanton.”

Byron Berry (trumpet)
Bill Napier (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Al Conger (bass)

Isle of Capri.mp3
Joseph, Joseph.mp3
Just a Gigolo.mp3
Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella.mp3
Muskrat Ramble.mp3
Shake That Thing.mp3
Weary Blues.mp3
You're the Cream in my Coffee.mp3

(this site):

Bill Erickson
Frank Goudie
Bob Mielke
Nods Taproom
Burp Hollow tapes
Pier 23 tapes

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