Heywood Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. He began playing the clarinet as a child and took his stage name from clarinetist Woody Herman. He has performed publicly at least since the late 1960s, notably with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the soundtrack of Sleeper. One of his earliest televised performances was on The Dick Cavett Show on October 20, 1971.
Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have been playing each Monday evening since 2011 at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel, specializing in classic New Orleans jazz from the early twentieth century. He plays songs by Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone and Louis Armstrong.
The documentary film Wild Man Blues directed by Barbara Kopple documents a 1996 European tour by Allen and his band, as well as his relationship with Previn. The band has released two CDs: The Bunk Project in 1993 and the soundtrack of Wild Man Blues in 1997. Allen and his band played the Montreal International Jazz Festival on two consecutive nights in June 2008. At 81, clarinetist Woody Allen continues to perform with his band when not writing scripts or directing and acting in films.
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Eggy Ley was born Derek William Ley on November 4, 1928 in London, England and first played drums and boogie-woogie piano. During his military service in the Royal Air Force he discovered and began playing the soprano saxophone.
In 1952 he played with Mick Collier’s Chicago Rhythm Kings followed by stints with Eric Silk and Stan Sowden. Then he put together his own Trad-Jazz band, which received a long guest appearance at the New Orleans Bar in Hamburg, Germany in 1955. Eggy kept the band going throughout Germany and Scandinavia until 1962, and recorded several records, with Benny Waters and for different labels, of which the Blues for St. Pauli became a hit in Germany.
Playing regularly with his band in London, Ley also produced for Radio Luxembourg and between 1969 and 1983 he produced for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. During the 1970s he co-directed the band Jazz Legend with Hugh Rainey and also recorded together with Cy Laurie.
In 1982, he founded his band Hot Shots, ran the Jazzin’ Around newspaper and toured overseas before emigrating to Canada in the late 1980s. Soprano and alto saxophonist Eggy Ley, considered one of the first British soprano saxophonists in jazz, passed away as a result of a heart attack on December 20, 1995 in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.
Sterling Bruce Conaway was born on October 26, 1900 in Washington, D.C. and learned to play the banjo and mandolin. His early career was spent playing with fellow Washingtonian Duke Ellington in their hometown. Relocated to Chicago, Illinois he joined the band of Carroll Dickerson.
He played in Cyril Fullerton’s band in 1924 and recorded with Helen Gross on ukulele. By the late 1920s he moved to Europe where he worked with Eddie South, Noble Sissle, Freddy Johnson, Freddy Taylor, and Leon Abbey. During this period in his career Sterling led several groups as well.
1936 saw him in Bombay, India playing with Crickett Smith, however, three years later returned to the United States. Banjoist and mandolinist Sterling Conaway continued to perform in big bands and leading his own groups until his passing away in November 1973.
Paul Evans was born on October 18, 1904 in Lawrence, Kansas. Picking up the nickname Stump, originated in his petite size, he was largely taught music by his father, an alto horn player named Clarence Evans. He started out on the same instrument, stretching into trombone for a position in the Lawrence High School Band.
Switching back to alto saxophone not too far into his professional career, he soon became known as one of the better baritone sax players on the scene. He had a reputation for brandishing the full array of saxophones through his many band jobs, even playing the justifiably obscure C-Melody saxophone.
A move to Chicago saw him gigging with a variety of groups including King Oliver’s Original Creole Orchestra, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and Erskine Tate. He had to quit the latter band due to tuberculosis. Saxophonist Stump Evans passed away from tuberculosis at age 24 on August 29, 1928 in Douglas County, Kansas.
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Samuel Blythe Price was born in Honey Grove, Texas on October 6, 1908 and during his early career, he was a singer and dancer in local venues in the Dallas, Texas area. While living in Kansas City, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois and Detroit Michigan he played jazz. In 1938 he was hired by Decca Records as a session sideman on piano, assisting singers such as Trixie Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Price was most noteworthy for his work on Decca Records leading his own band, known as the Texas Bluesicians, that included fellow musicians Don Stovall and Emmett Berry. He would also go on to have a decade-long partnership with Henry “Red” Allen.
Later in his life, Sammy partnered with the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and was the headline entertainment at the Crawdaddy Restaurant, a New Orleans themed restaurant in New York in the mid-1970s. Here he would play with both Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich.
During the Eighties he moved to Boston, Massachusetts switched to performing in the bar of Copley Plaza. Pianist and vocalist Sammy Price passed away from a heart attack on April 14, 1992, at home in Harlem, in New York City, at the age of 83.