The University Six

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The University Six was the name used for a series of groups put together in the studios during a three-year period to create melodic jazz that also served as enthusiastic dance music. From the start,…
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The University Six was the name used for a series of groups put together in the studios during a three-year period to create melodic jazz that also served as enthusiastic dance music. From the start, the band numbered more than six musicians (usually seven but sometimes it was an octet), utilizing many musicians who also played with the California Ramblers and other similar bands of the period. The band usually included trumpeter Chelsea Quealey (who offered a pleasant lead), trombonist Abe Lincoln, the versatile Bobby Davis (on clarinet, soprano and alto) and the great bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini. Strangely enough, the University Six never had a string bassist, which kept the band from ever really swinging or getting quite hot. Other musicians on many of the selections included pianist Irving Brodsky, banjoist Tommy Felline, drummer Herb Weil (occasionally Stan King) and sometimes tenorsaxophonist Sam Ruby; Arthur Fields took vocals now and then. The lineup changed quite a bit from the Oct. 17, 1927 session on with Frank Cush and later Cliff Weston taking over on trumpet with the other positions mostly filled by obscure players (other than the notable Spencer Clark in Rollini's spot) and vocalists taking a more prominent role. The music created by the University Six overall is very much in the mainstream of the mid-1920's, not innovative but still sounding full of spirit. However it is a sure bet that none of the musicians were college students at the time!