Roy Palmer

Roy Palmer had a raspy tone yet a fluid style on the trombone which he played quite percussively (reminiscent but not derivative of Kid Ory). No matter what the setting, Palmer's playing added excitement, joy and musicality to the situation yet he is largely forgotten today except by 1920's collectors. Palmer started out as a guitarist (playing in Roseal's Orchestra as early as 1906), switched to trumpet and then finally trombone. An early member of the New Orleans jazz scene, Palmer played with Richard M. Johnes, Willie Hightower and many other groups. In 1917 he moved to Chicago where he worked with Lawrence Duhe's band. When King Oliver became the band's leader, Palmer departed. In the 1920's he played with a variety of now-forgotten bands including those led by Tig Chambers, Doc Watson and Hughie Smith. Palmer did have opportunities to record with Jelly Roll Morton (1924), Johnny Dodds (1927) and Richard M. Jones (1929) but it was his records with the State Street Ramblers (1931), the similarly boisterous Memphis Nighthawks (also known as the Alabama Rascals) in 1932, and finally with the Chicago Rhythm Kings (1936) that made him legendary. Fortunately all of his 1931-36 recordings are available on the CDs State Street Ramblers Volumes 1 and particularly 2 from the RST label. After 1936, Roy Palmer was no longer a fulltime player, made no further recordings, ran a laundry business and taught trumpet, trombone and theory from his Chicago home.
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