Dan Gabel’s Centennial Jass Band, March 30, 2017  Primavera Ristorante

6 musicians standing in black tux and bow ties

Dan Gabel’s Centennial Jass Band

Dan ‘Daddy’ Gabel – 1912 King Trombone, Cow Moos
Jeff ‘LaRocca’ Hughes – 1910 Conn Cornet, Horse Whinny
John ‘Shields’ Clark – Clarinet and Rooster Coos
Ian ‘Rags’ Frenkel – Piano and fashion consultant
Bill ‘Sbarbaro’ Reynolds – 1915 Snare drum, traps (no hi-hat), barn sound effects
Rick ‘Robinson’ MacWilliams – Tuba and President

Many Traditional and Dixieland Jazz Bands across the world this month are celebrating the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recording the first commercially issued jazz 100 years ago!  We had our own version Thursday Night at Primavera Ristorante in Millis, MA with Dan Gabel’s Tribute to the  #OriginalDixielandJassBand.

Jeff Hughes, John Clark and Dan Gabel have played together in many bands, but tonight they morphed into cornetist  Nick LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields and trombonist Eddie Edwards.

6 musicians all sitting and playing, no banjo

Front Line: John Clark, Jeff Hughes, Dan Gable

They played all ODJB tunes, starting, of course, with the Original Dixieland One Step.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

It continued with Livery Stable Blues, that became the first jazz single ever issued.  It has the barnyard animal sounds that Gunther Schuller called “Barnyard Hocum.”

seated, playing clarinet

John Clark


John Clark was dynamite on Clarinet Marmalade.  John is leader of the popular Wolverine Jazz Band, and arranging and composing tunes of his own.

Larry Shields  co-wrote the ODJB classics Clarinet Marmalade with Henry Ragas, which became one of the landmark compositions of early jazz and was a very popular jazz standard in the 1920s. He also co-wrote At the Jazz Band Ball, Ostrich Walk, and Fidgety Feet.



Dan’s Centennial Jass Band made Ostrich Walk into a polyphonic thriller!
Singing The Blues is usually associated with Bix Beiderbecke, but the ODJB were the first to play it.  They went to London in the 1919, where they played I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

This was the first time the musicians had ever played these arrangements together; the intensity grew as they absorbed the techniques.

Fidgety Feet was a Hot One!

Till My Daddy Comes Home, front line trading fours.

Alice Blue Gown started out as a waltz, but not for long – second chorus turned into hot toe-tapping Dixieland.

Rick sitting playing tuba, eyes looking up at ceiling

Rick MacWilliams


Downtown Strutters Ball has been played by just about every band, but they played faster than usual.  Nice tuba by Rick MacWilliams.

(The ODJB didn’t have a tuba so Rick was given the title of  “President” of the band.)




Bill with just bass drum, 1915 snare, and one smaller drum and 3 cymbals. No hi hat.

Bill Reynolds




Drummer Bill Reynolds (Tony Sbarbaro)
knows his Trad Jazz beat and kept the band in perfect time on cymbals and a 1915 snare drum, using the same simple drum set they had back then. No hi hat.



Ian with huge hands playing keyboard, huge reach on fingers

Ian Frenkel


Astounding playing by Ian (Henry Ragas) on Syncopation Rag, with his wide finger spread. This was recorded by Benny Goodman in his Carnegie Hall Concert.

You can listen to Ian Frenkel on a real piano on Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/search/sounds?q=ian%20frenkel



John Clark sang When You and I Were Young Maggie.  He dedicated it to his #1 Fan, 90+ year-old Betty Weaver, who is a regular at Primavera, as she was at The Sherborn Inn and Sticky Wicket.  She talked John Clark into singing years ago.

St. Louis Blues – 


standing In tux with long tail in back, holding trombone and singing his heart out




Dan Gable sang Pardon Me, Pretty Baby,  resplendent leader in long-tailed tux and two-toned shoes.

Jeff Hughes’s Dad’s favorite was the 1919 Tell Me.  Piano and cornet took first chorus; what a sweet cornet!

Dan Gable added some fancy crooning – he first heard it on a Bill Crosby recording.




Jeff with elbows out aiming cornet straight at the crowd.

Jeff Hughes



Jeff Hughes was in his element on a 1910 Conn Cornet.

He has a vast collection of cornets and trumpets, and leads many bands of his own.
Tops in our book!




The ODJB had Jim Robinson on piano for the 1920 Broadway Rose. It was issued on Victor 18722 A.

They closed this breathtaking evening with a fierce trombone Tiger on Tiger Rag.

New Orleans music is a living, breathing organism.  We sincerely hope Dan Gable keeps this Centennial Jass Band playing long after the celebrating is over!

5 musicians in black tuxes

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band