Miff Frink

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The name of Miff Frink deserves to be spread far and wide, just on general principles: it is an awesome name. Yet it was completely overshadowed by the even grander, to some practically mouthwatering…
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The name of Miff Frink deserves to be spread far and wide, just on general principles: it is an awesome name. Yet it was completely overshadowed by the even grander, to some practically mouthwatering name of the one major band he seems to have been a member of, none other than the immortal Barbecue Joe & His Hot Dogs. Frink played both trombone and banjo on a series of sides this group cut for the Gennett label in 1930 in Richmond, Indiana. The band itself was a pseudonym for the one-armed trumpet player Wingy Manone. There was no Barbecue Joe, but sidemen such as Frink, drummer Dash Burkis, and saxophonist Joe Dunn were certainly hot.

Frink gets his licks in on versions of tunes such as "Big Butter and Egg Man," associated with Louis Armstrong, and Papa Charlie Jackson's "Shake That Thing," but the recording of this band which received the most notoriety was "Tar Paper Stomp." The main riff in the Barbecue Joe & His Hot Dogs' arrangement of this piece is instantly recognizable, with Frink's trombone sound a big part of the appeal. This is the riff that was lifted by Horace Henderson for his piece entitled "Hot and Anxious," then finally immortalized as "In the Mood" in recordings by Edgar Hayes and Glenn Miller. It was the latter version that became the biggest-selling record in swing history.