Tom Pletcher

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Tom Pletcher plays a style of jazz that might be considered old-fashioned compared to some of the bands his father was in. Stew Pletcher was also a trumpeter who named his son after grandfather Thomas…
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Tom Pletcher plays a style of jazz that might be considered old-fashioned compared to some of the bands his father was in. Stew Pletcher was also a trumpeter who named his son after grandfather Thomas Pletcher, a publisher of jazz piano rolls in the '20s. In Stew Pletcher's later years he played in a New Orleans jazz style but had been knee-deep in a somewhat modernistic extended band venture by vibraphonist Red Norvo decades earlier. Young Tom Pletcher may have heard some of these sides playing in the family home, but it was a much more traditional record with Frankie Trumbauer that really got his interest, resulting in a personal Dixieland revival trek in which the guiding star is Bix Beiderbecke. Tom Pletcher plays in the Beiderbecke style -- including impressions of how Beiderbecke might have approached composers such as George Gershwin -- and also contributes to research and other details involved in Beiderbecke reissues.

Pletcher's Sons of Bix band -- certainly a more appealing name than "Son of Stew" -- has been active since its origin in Chicago in 1973. Quite a few discerning recording labels have released Pletcher's Bix tricks, including Jazzology, Fairmont, RCA, Swaggie, Circle, Wolverine, Taylor, Teaspoon, Stompoff, and Arbors. A 1990 Italian film entitled Bix: An Interpretation of a Legend utilized Pletcher in a soundtrack role as Beiderbecke himself. Pletcher also started up the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society and the Bix Centennial Band, an attraction in demand for various Bix-fests, including the "Bix 100th Birthday Cruise."