This is a little amazing. Considering the information available now with everything in the world being digitized and connected, it dawned on me to search for Earl March, my great uncle. I’ve heard stories that he played with the Duke Ellington band, and I vaguely remember his funeral, where a bunch of old-school jazzers showed up in v-neck sweaters. Beyond that, it was all just stories.
But I got a hit! I learned that he was in a group called the Hal Otis Trio. I searched on them, and found that they made some records. A little more digging got me to a website specializing in very obscure records, and sure enough, they had a single (78 RPM) of the Hal Otis Trio. I bought it, and sure enough, right there on the label is the name Earl March. The verification that it’s really him? He’s the accordionist. That’s right, my uncle played jazz accordion.
Next, I had to get myself a turntable (burned out the old one) and it had to play 78 RPM records. I got a very inexpensive ION model, and it has a USB connection, so I was able to record the first spin. My hopes were low, but to have recorded in the 78 RPM era, they had to be at least a little good. Turns out they were GREAT. You’ll see – keep reading.
So, all of this is so very interesting to me, because I’ve been in bands most of my life – music is a huge part of me. Also, my grandma (Earl’s sister) turns 100 years old this weekend. I don’t think she has this music. One of the down sides of living such a long life is that she’s lost a lot of people in her life – I was little when Earl died, so it’s been at least 30 years. She will get to hear him play again today.
Without further ado, I present the Hal Otis Trio:
Lady of Spain
Happy birthday, Valeria!!