Snooks Friedman

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A supportive drummer, Snooks Friedman led Snooks and his Memphis Stompers, a spirited group that recorded 42 titles during 1931-32. Friedman started playing professionally in the summer of 1923 with the…
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A supportive drummer, Snooks Friedman led Snooks and his Memphis Stompers, a spirited group that recorded 42 titles during 1931-32. Friedman started playing professionally in the summer of 1923 with the Ole Miss Jesters. He picked up experience with the bands of Meyer Davis and Hip Bennett (in Arkansas and Wisconsin respectively), recording with the latter. In 1926 he returned to his hometown and organized the Memphis Stompers. Under that name, Friedman recorded six titles in 1928 in Memphis and two in Camden, New Jersey in 1929. The band, originally a sextet, grew to ten pieces by the time it relocated to New York in late-1928. A flexible group that could play both hot jazz and infectious dance music, it worked at many of the major theatres (including a six-month run at Roseland). In 1931 with the addition of a string quartet, the band started what would be three years at the Paramount Hotel. They also appeared in a few now-obscure Warner Brothers movie shorts and provided background music for some of the Dave and Max Fleischer cartoons. Although they made no further recordings after 1932, Snooks Friedman's band stayed active in New York until the beginning of World War II. Friedman eventually returned home and spent several years in the Navy. After the war ended, he put together a dixieland band in Memphis that played regularly at the Silver Slipper Night Club (which he ran after 1951) until the club was destroyed in a 1958 fire. Up until his retirement in 1972, Snooks Friedman remained active around town, playing with his own group and occasionally as a sideman. The Parklane label came out with a CD in the mid-1990's that contains 22 selections by Snooks and His Memphis Stompers and one numbers from his 1928 band.