Whatever Happened To -
Frank Ward


My connection with the N. W. England music scene is that I was the cornetist and leader of The New Independence Jazz Band that played Sunday mornings at the Blackburn Ballet Society rooms starting in the early fifties. That came to an end when I emigrated to Canada in 1956 to take up a public library position, and soon after moved to the U. S. -- Toledo, Ohio to be exact.

I didn't play for about ten years when I discovered that a trad band was playing weekends at Tony Packo's Hungarian Restaurant in Toledo. The had recently formed and they desperately needed a cornet player. Two weeks later I joined what was, and still is -- albeit now out of a regular gig -- The Cakewalkin' Jass Band. We played at Packo's (exept for festival bookings (including ten consecutive years at The Bix Fest in Davenport) Friday and Saturday nites , 8 til midnite for THIRTY FOUR YEARS!.

I retired from the Cakewalkers a few years ago (after 37 years) and hardly touch the cornet anymore. Neither the leader/clarinetist nor myself could ever read a lick of music but we had just over 300 tunes in the book. Many of your readers will be familiar with the Cakewalker's leader's son who is trumpeter Duke Heitger who has long lived and played in New Orleans and on the European jazz circuit.

After Louis, my most-listened to guys are Ruby Braff, Warren Vache, and Bob Barnard. Just at Packo's alone I played our theme song 3,200 times. No prizes for guessing what it was!

Statistically there must be four or five people out there who still remember Sunday mornings and those six young guys collectively known as the New Independence Jazz Band .

My best to everybody!
Frank Ward, Toledo, Ohio.
Email: fward@buckeye-express.com  if anyone wants to know)


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