In search of dupree bolton (part 2)

By Ted Gioia

For many years, people have asked me to share the story of my search for the mysterious trumpeter Dupree Bolton. It is a painful story to tell, and has hardly become less so, even though some two decades have now passed since the events related here. Certainly I have been remiss in waiting this long before sharing my account of this tragic and talented artist, yet I welcome this opportunity finally to set the facts straight about Bolton's life and times.

Dupree Bolton Fireball

This trumpeter caused a sensation on the West Coast when he appeared—seemingly out of nowhere—at the close of the 1950s. He made a small number of recordings marked by his blistering speed and unbridled creativity on the horn, and seemed destined for stardom. But Bolton was a secretive man who refused to talk about himself. And then he disappeared—leaving the scene as suddenly as he had arrived.

That was where matters still stood, when I picked up the thread at the close of the 1980s. I was in the midst of writing my book on West Coast jazz, and Dupree Bolton was the biggest question mark in my research. I wondered where he had gone, where he had come from, how he had developed his formidable talent, and—above all—how a player this talented could simply fall off the face of the earth.

Below is the second and final installment of my article "In Search of Dupree Bolton." (For part one, click here.)

The Oakland location where Dupree Bolton had asked me to meet him was one of those blighted areas of the city that surrounded the renovated downtown district. While the city administration spent its time trying to recapture their lost NFL team—the Raiders were in the middle of their twelve year sojourn in Los Angeles at the time—or bask in the limelight of their successful baseball team, the quality of life in this neighborhood had been declining at an alarming rate. I hardly felt safe here, even in broad daylight. But I waited for Bolton for as long as I could.

He never appeared. My mystery man had pulled one more disappearing act.

The previous day, Bolton had agreed to meet me in an out-of-the-way location for a conversation—the result of some painstaking efforts on my part, and the first interview had ever given—but the trumpeter cut it short after twenty minutes and asked that I drive him to another "appointment" across town. Wait until tomorrow, he had promised, and I will tell you stories worthy of a motion picture. But I now felt like a character in a film myself, typecast as the chump.

Some hours later, Dupree phoned me with apologies for his absence. "Something came up. I'll explain it later."

          Dupree Bolton at the Music Annex
                 recording studio in 1989

                        (Photo by Ted Gioia)

The promised explanation never emerged, but the next day our interview continued, and Dupree's story proved to be every bit as cinematic as he had promised. "The last forty-five years have been a story of drugs, music and prison," he told me in somewhat melodramatic fashion. As he set out the details of his autobiography, he proved that this was no idle claim.

Our dialogue began as Dupree described the first of his many encounters with the law. "The day before I turned seventeen, I was busted." He was living in a New York hotel with the dancer Benny Harris. Both were dealing drugs. Dupree's parents were still trying to find him. They put ads in the paper and offered a $25 reward—but Bolton had so far eluded them. When he made his first recordings in 1944, he had used an assumed name to avoid detection. In New York, the following year, he continued to keep as low a profile as possible.

Bolton performed infrequently and supported himself mainly through selling marijuana. Harris precipitated the arrest by selling heroin to an undercover policeman. When they came for Harris, they found marijuana on Bolton. Both were arrested and convicted. Harris served two years for the heroin offense. Bolton's crime was the lesser of the two, but he served more time because of his age. "The judge sentenced me until my majority, in other words, until I was 21."

At age 17, Bolton found himself institutionalized in a Lexington, Kentucky hospital operated by the U.S. Public Health Service. "It was a bad hospital," he recalled, "but a good penitentiary. You know, they called them rooms instead of cells." But it was not, Bolton explains, a drug-free environment. Even while in Lexington, Dupree and his fellow "patients" had access to large amounts of the marijuana that was grown there for scientific purposes. By the time of his release he had gained an advanced education in the ways of techniques of drug addicts.

Bolton returned to Los Angeles after his release and was reunited with his family. He lived at home and tried to pick up the pieces of his music career. But his focus on the trumpet was gradually overwhelmed by his dependence on heroin. At this time, he was nursing a $20 to $25 a day habit ("Now it would cost you $100 a day," he told me at our meeting.) The financial rewards of a musician's life were hardly sufficient, even for a player of Bolton's talents, to pay these bills. Instead, the trumpeter was "stealing, selling dope, whatever I could."

Yet Bolton continued to practice and improve during the next two years, even though he rarely performed in public. He was a bebop player in the mold of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, but the easiest work for an African-American horn player to find at the time came from rhythm-and-blues bands. "I wouldn't play that," he recalled with disdain. "I looked down on rhythm-and-blues. It offered no challenge. I was beboppin' to bebop."

Bolton's hero was Fats Navarro. Navarro had developed an easy mastery of his instrument and played with a warm, clean tone that was almost classical in its purity. Yet, like Bolton, Navarro, propelled his melodic lines with a fire and passion that had no counterpart in the symphonic tradition. "Fats was staying in New York and I saw him just before I went to jail. They used to call him 'Fat Girl' because he was a real big guy at the time. But after he got hooked and really into the dope thing, he started losing weight." Navarro died in July 1950 of tuberculosis aggravated by narcotics use. A promising career had ended at age 26.

The lesson of Navarro's death apparently had no lasting impact on his young disciple. In 1951 Bolton was arrested again, this time for forgery, and spent the next four years in Soledad. His memories of that period are laced with bitterness. "There was a lot of racial prejudice underneath the surface, and I represented everything the racists did not like. I was a young black who thought he was something. I kept myself clean and neat—the very thing the racists did not want. They expected a black to be slovenly, dirty. I thought I was something, and they really stuck it to me, brother.

"The average guy, even a black guy, who went there and was like they wanted him to be, would do maybe 18 months. I had to do 51 months. I made it, but it was a drag being in the joint that long. So I started doing everything I could trying to get loaded, and there was something there damn near all the time to get loaded on. I started hustling inside Soledad." The saving grace of the period was the penitentiary's music program. "I got a job that didn't restrict me and I was able to practice every day. I would play tunes, but my main objective was to get down with the mechanics of the instrument. That meant scales and exercises. I would play them sometimes for 12 to 14 hours a day."

This may well have been the turning point in the trumpeter's musical development, the time of intensive woodshedding that transformed him from a journeyman player into a formidable trumpeter. Yet even after leaving Soledad in1956, Bolton had little opportunity to make his name—he was soon arrested and another forgery conviction sent him to Terminal Island. His practice sessions continued there and by the time of his release in Los Angeles in 1959 he was a stunning player and a potential star. His technique was flawless and his reading ability the envy of many classical performers on the instrument. "In prison I was really making progress and I knew it." Soon the jazz world would know it, too.

It didn't take long before word of mouth reports began circulating on the Los Angeles jazz scene of an extraordinary player, who had come out of the blue and was (literally) blowing away the competition. Harold Land and Elmo Hope discovered Bolton playing at a club in Watts. They were looking for a fiery trumpeter who could read Hope's difficult charts for an upcoming session. They had been told that Bolton was an exceptional reader who could also solo with tremendous passion. After hearing him in person, they immediately enlisted him for Land's upcoming recording date.

A half century later, the resulting album, The Fox, remains one of the masterpieces of the period. Throughout the 1950s, the myth had prevailed that West Coast jazz musicians were soft, they were laid-back melodic players who lacked drive and toughness. If anyone still believed that old canard in 1959, it would have been easily dispelled by listening to this one album. Land and Hope perform with conviction, and contribute some of the finest performances of their distinguished careers. But the big surprise is Bolton, whose name, only a few months before, had been unknown in the jazz world. This previously unheralded trumpeter was playing like an established star, with an authority and conviction that turned heads. On the title track he took flight with a speed and energy that is still astonishing today. I recall one fan describing Bolton's work here as "a cross between Clifford Brown and a flame-thrower"—a witticism perhaps, but one that effectively captures the sensibility of this riveting performance. The tempo pushes a ridiculous 400 beats per minute, roughly the rhythm of a machine gun shooting off its bullets, rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat. Bolton leaps out of the starting gate like a man shot out of a cannon, and never looks back. He thrives on the near frenzy of the proceedings—indeed, it would be hard to find another trumpet solo that surpasses this one for sheer intensity. The other performances on the album confirmed that Land's sideman was something special.

Bolton's legend may only have grown from his marked silence during this period. He refused to give interviews and his past life was a complete mystery. In retrospect, he attributed his attitude to a reluctance to discuss his criminal record and periods of incarceration. "I didn't want to talk about myself because of my background—prison, using dope and the rest of it. Whereas now, it helps. It's kind of like coming out of the closet. But not back thirty years ago."

Almost as soon as he had arrived on the scene, Bolton again disappeared. He was arrested once more, and sent to San Quentin. He would spend a considerable amount of time in San Quentin during the 1960s. This first time he was imprisoned until 1962. It was a demeaning and disturbing environment—during Bolton's stay, executions were still taking place periodically in the prison's gas chamber. "San Quentin was the worst," Bolton recounted to me, "but I learned quickly how to survive. I learned that if some convicts start fighting with knives, you don't run over to check out the action. You run in the opposite direction."


A brief period of freedom in 1962 led to Bolton's last commercial jazz recordings. He joined saxophonist Curtis Amy on the album Katanga. Bolton contributed the title song and once again proved that he could shine as a forceful and distinctive soloist. A few weeks later, Bolton participated with Amy's group in a session backing singer Lou Rawls, where even with his limited space to solo, he stands out. A snippet of film from this period captures him in performance with the Gerald Wilson orchestra. Some other odds and ends recently showed up on the Fireball compilation. Yet Bolton never had a leader date, and after this brief period of activity, his music would remain hidden from view for the next quarter of a century.

And why? Once again, Bolton was arrested.

"This is damn near the story of my life—going in and out of the penitentiary." Arrests for forgery (both for forging checks and prescriptions) and other drug-related offenses would be the recurring charges. "I never committed any violent crimes. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to hurt anybody," he admits with candor, "but that I was afraid myself."

Even back in prison, Bolton continued playing. San Quentin during the 1960s boasted a number of illustrious players, including saxophonists Art Pepper and Frank Morgan, drummer Frank Butler, who had gigged with Miles Davis, and pianist Jimmy Bunn, who had played with Charlie Parker. Morgan would win the Downbeat critics poll in 1991 as the best alto saxophonist in jazz, but he once boasted that the best band he ever had was back in San Quentin. Here Bolton continued to practice and refine his craft, but for the jazz world at large he was now a figure from the past.

A 1980 recording with a group of Oklahoma convicts would be his only released session after the early 1960s. Bolton took little pride in this recording. "The people on the record were not musicians. They were just people doing time. I did it because it was something to do." Dupree characterized the songs as "second-rate-country music." Yet Bolton was surprised to see the session listed in Bob Weir's booklet Dupree Bolton Discography, which I showed him at our interview. Dupree had never seen Weir's publication before. He asked me if I had compiled the information in the booklet. He was taken aback when I told him that it had been published by a man in England. "Is that right? Man, you never know. I didn't know anything about it."

Six years before our meeting, Bolton was released for the last time. He settled in the San Francisco area, where he was living when I conducted our interviews. He participated in a government supervised methadone program. "I don't like being on it, but it's saving me." He had recently started receiving Social Security checks, which supplemented his income from playing on the streets. After so many years of imprisonment, Bolton savored his personal freedom; yet he still managed to credit his periods of incarceration with preserving his life. "I'm still alive, and I know so many guys who are not because they didn't go to jail."

Even with his freedom, Bolton retained a low profile. "There was a guy down in Los Angeles looking for me. He put an ad in Downbeat asking people if they had seen me. A partner of mine—I thought he was a partner until he beat me for one of my checks—wrote him. The guy sent him a tape and asked him to interview me. But nothing happened. My partner didn't really want to do anything. You're the first one I've talked to."

Much of the mystery of Dupree Bolton had been solved for me by these interviews. He was no longer an enigma, but had become a tragedy. Even so, I felt that one last thing remained undone.

A few days after our last interview, I brought Dupree to a recording studio, the Music Annex in Menlo Park. Here I accompanied him on piano while he played trumpet. His approach was tentative as he felt his way around the new horn he had borrowed for the occasion. The fire-breathing intensity of his early recordings was apparently gone for good. On fast numbers, only an occasional phrase reminded the listener of the prepossessing trumpeter of the early 1960s. When we played ballads, he revealed a more delicate approach than I recalled from his earlier recordings, relying on filigreed improvised lines that sought for beauty rather than passion. "Yes, man, I can still play. I can still play," Bolton asserted. But the recordings, alas, would not live up to the inevitable comparisons with the work he had done in his youth.

I held on to the tapes from this session for some months. But then I did what struck me as the only honorable thing. I destroyed them. Dupree Bolton should be remembered, I felt, for the greatness of his youthful achievements, not the limitations of his later efforts.

I lost contact with Dupree Bolton after that day in the studio. In the late summer of 1993, I heard through the grapevine that he had died. I tried to get more details, but they were not forthcoming. In early October, I wrote to the Alameda County recorder's office in Oakland—where Bolton was living when I last saw him—but they wrote back two weeks later saying that they could find no death certificate under that name. A few years later, researcher Richard Williams found the death certificate in this same office—listed, incorrectly, under the last name of 'Bolten'. It showed that the trumpeter had died from cardiac arrest on June 5, 1993. He would have been 64 years old at the time.

His belongings at the time of his death were only a television set. As far as anyone could tell, the deceased did not own a trumpet. According to the county, Bolton was indigent, and he was accordingly cremated at the taxpayer's expense, his ashes placed in the community crypt at a nearby cemetery.

But if the physical inventory was scanty, the intangible legacy was substantial. Seldom has a jazz musician stirred more excitement with so few recordings. And in the history of jazz, replete with so many tragedies and dead-ends, so many speculations about "if only this" or "if only that" had happened, here was a might-have-been that still rankles me decades later. The Fox, Katanga—those final documents, should have been, rather, the starting point, not the end, of a glorious career. Even so, Bolton made the most of these sessions, and it is hard to imagine him surpassing these performances, these grand, dramatic gestures that still leave us breathless so many years later.


April 23, 2009 · 27 comments

  • 1 Robert Gordon // Apr 23, 2009 at 09:58 PM
    Great article. I admire your persistance in gathering the elusive facts on Bolton.
  • 2 Ted Gioia // Apr 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM
    Robert, coming from you, that means a lot. I couldn't have done my book on West Coast jazz without the pioneering example of your research and writing. Site visitors who don't know about Robert Gordon's book Jazz West Coast are encouraged to check it out.
  • 3 Jud Warren // Apr 24, 2009 at 02:10 PM
    Ted Thanks for a great article!
  • 4 Todd S. Jenkins // Apr 24, 2009 at 02:26 PM
    Amazing stuff, Ted. What a compelling story, and there are so many similar stories of lost souls: Lucky Thompson, Giuseppi Logan, Anita O'Day. Wise of you to dispose of those tentative final recordings, too; it is better that Bolton be remembered at his height.
  • 5 brian kinder // Apr 24, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    Thankyou for that was Giuseppe Logans life similar ? only recall the ESP LP Saturnally Brian Kinder
  • 6 Gavin Walker // Apr 24, 2009 at 05:41 PM
    Thanks for the sad story...I left a comment a while ago after reading Part 1. Just reading Jimmy Bunn's name brought back a memory as Jimmy came to Vancouver in 1974 with a version of the Ink Spots to play at a club called The Stardust (it was usually a strip club...with a live band and I worked there off and on for a while). The Ink Spots were booked for 4 days with topless dancers filling in between sets. Bunn was their pianist and George Bledsoe was singing and playing bass. I dropped in to pick up a check and met Bunn and Bledsoe, the other guys' names are forgotten. There was an after-hour Jazz venue open on week-ends and I took Bunn there and had a great time playing with him. He mentioned his time in Quentin and all the cats that were there including Bolton. He told me Bolton was playing better than any of his records, including The Fox. I learned a few new tunes from Bunn and some hip changes to play on. When I introduced Jimmy to Mike Taylor (a black pianist-organist originally from LA)....Jimmy proudly said to Mike..."very nice to meet you man, I'm the piano player on Bird's Lover Man". Thanks again for your work and the story and for doing the honourable thing and erasing the tapes you made. Can you imagine if something was taped at those prison sessions and found to be releasable.....that would be the Jazz Holy Grail!
  • 7 George W. Harris // Apr 25, 2009 at 12:46 PM
    Well researched and interesting article. This is the kind of stuff that makes you love good writing.
  • 8 Andrew Gilbert // Apr 26, 2009 at 02:29 AM
    Fascinating story Ted, thanks for posting. The East Bay jazz singer Ed Reed, who's emerged as a remarkable talent in his late 70s, has talked about running around with Bolton as a young man in the 1950s. Like Bolton, Ed grew up in LA and had a serious heroin habit that derailed his career, though he's been sober since the mid-80s and survived with his voice intact. I believe they were also in San Quentin together and Ed could probably fill in some holes in the Bolton story...
  • 9 patrick Hiltenbrand // Apr 27, 2009 at 03:11 PM
    Very good article ! There is also a very good chapter on Dupree Bolton in the book ("San Quentin Jazz band" from Pierre Brianon - 49 p in french). The others chapters are about Art Pepper, Franck Morgan, Earl Anderza, Frank Washington, Nathaniel Meeks, Jimmy Bunn). The book is very interesting. Bravo ! for your sie !
  • 10 taran // Apr 27, 2009 at 06:31 PM
    great article, ted. by the way, giuseppi logan is back and is playing again:
  • 11 Jim Gallert // Apr 30, 2009 at 04:04 PM
    Ted, that's a fine piece of detective work. You have to be obsessed to do jazz research. Lars Bjorn and I have dug into Detroit's rich history and have shed light on some obscure-but-gifted musicians like Claire Roquemore, a trumpeter who Miles Davis admired (Claire supposedly 'cut' Miles many times in sessions) in the early fifties. But Dupree left evidence, thankfully, and you've built a person around the wonderful music.
  • 12 Cricket Cohen // May 01, 2009 at 04:16 AM
    What an incredible life story. I can't help but wonder what jazz historian Phil Schaap would contribute.
  • 13 Paul Brewer // May 02, 2009 at 05:05 PM
    I was employed by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections as the director of the inmate music program back in 1980 when Dupree joined the group. I did everything I could to give him opportunities to stretch out. For a while, we had a good drummer and a decent bass player. And I did my best to accompany Dupree on the only keyboard we had, an old Wurlitzer electric piano. I got to know Dupree as well anyone did, I think. And I spent quite a lot of time visiting him in his cell (they allowed certain prison employees to do that back then). Dupree sought my company frequently because I was the only one there who had been trained as jazz musician. My many years of education appealed to him, too, as it provided a level of conversational depth that he could not get with his fellow inmates at that facility. Dupree was very bright. It's a shame that a mind like his was so utterly wasted on a life of indigence. It's all the more disheartening when I think of all the young people I've taught who would have learned so much from Dupree if he had become a teacher as well as a player. I saw and played with Dupree several times after he got out (I'm a trombonist). But, then he disappeared and I never him again. I contributed to the liner notes on Bob Sunenblick's recent CD of Dupree. Read those if you want to know more about my time with him.
  • 14 David Sherr // May 04, 2009 at 03:36 PM
    Fascinating story. I got The Fox when it first was issued, but never heard him in person. I am interested in how his father managed to do studio work at a time (vestiges of which still exist) when African-Americans were not welcome in the LA studios. Another mystery musician, Amos Trice, is still listed in the LA musicians union directory, although with no address or phone number.
  • 15 Ed Reed // May 06, 2009 at 06:04 PM
    Thank you Ted Gioia. This is really great. I have, for years, been saying that Dupree Bolton was Clifford Brown before Clifford Brown. Dupree lived around the corner from me on 97th Street. I lived on Hickory Street in Watts. I loved his trumpet playing. He was my friend, my music mentor, and a friend of my family. He was also my crime partner, I gave him the stolen money orders that sent us to San Quentin prison in 1951. My Mother once asked him, as she was making lunch for us; why he always seemed hungry, he replied that he never had enough money, after buying heroin, to waste on food. My Mom, my Dad and my younger brother, and I loved Dupree. I always had a day job and had to keep something for lunch and gasoline, etc. Dupree never understood that. His main objectives were; getting high and playing music. I was trying to sing and we played some Bucket of Blood gigs in and around Watts, we even got as far as Phoenix Ariz. before it fell apart over drugs and money. One day he and I got in an argument because I had some money I had to keep. Dupree felt I was being stingy and socked me, on my head. I was driving and I stopped the car to duke it out with him. As I was getting out of the car he said Just a minute, were going to fight but you cant hit me in the chops ok? After we went to prison in 1951. I did not see him, again but once, briefly, in 1968, we were coppin some dope in Watts. I was interning in a program at UCLA. We promised to get together, we didnt. The next time we met was in 1987. I had been clean about a year and I knew that I could not hang out with Dupree and stay clean. When I felt stronger, I went looking for him and listened to him play in San Francisco, Chinatown. His playing wasnt the same and a sadness shadowed him. I saw him one last time shortly before his death in 1993, we didnt have much to say to each other. When I heard that he had died, I felt my heart break. Today I'm having some small success, Nat Hentoff called this morning. It sure would be great to have Dupree on the bandstand with me again. He always knew what I was trying to do. Ed
  • 16 Mel Martin // May 06, 2009 at 08:09 PM
    Ted; Great research job on Dupree Bolton. I wore out The Fox as a teenage aspiring jazz musician. Later, I well remember coming out of of gigs at The Meridian Hotel on 3rd Street and hearing Sonny Simmons huge sound on the street. Back in the early '60's Bop City and Solville were hangouts where you would often run into legends like Earl Anderza, Walter Benton, Little Benny Harris, Cowboy and many others. It was not all that unusual to hear or play with a brilliant musician and then wonder what ever happened to them. Later when I went to New York I would run into what seemed like the entire community of black musicians I had known in San Francisco on the lower East side around Slug's. The story of Dupree Bolton, although tragic and sad, wasn't entirely unusual. His may have have been one of the most brilliant examples of lost talent, though. I wish I had run into him on the streets in SF. Thanks again. Mel Martin
  • 17 Bruce Armstrong // May 06, 2009 at 09:33 PM
    Ted, your great detective work and persistence finally solved one of the longest running "jazz mysteries." Thanks for sharing it. A great article. I really enjoy the website and your writings.
  • 18 Gregory Norflee // May 07, 2009 at 10:39 PM
    It's amazing how your article has really had an impact on me as an artist in recovery. I shall devote the rest of my life to serving others throuth music so that Mr. Dupree Bolton won't have to leave us in vain. His spirit lives in every note that I play. May God bless Dupree Bolton.
  • 19 Dick McGarvin // May 09, 2009 at 12:44 AM
    In the 40 some years since I first heard it, Harold Land's THE FOX has remained one of my favorite albums, and is one that I still play. Like you and so many other jazz fans, I always wondered about Dupree Bolton. So, Ted, thank you very much. I was elated to read your wonderful two part article and finally have the mystery solved, but I was also terribly saddened to learn of Dupree's difficult, what-might-have-been life. And I found the photos you took of him in 1989 to be, somehow, quite touching. Thanks also to the others, like Ed Reed and Paul Brewer, who commented on your article and provided a little more information on Dupree's tragic life. If there were recordings made during Dupree's San Quentin time--and the band as good as Frank Morgan said--let's hope they get discovered and issued. How about it Mosaic?
  • 20 Gilda Green-Hagood // May 20, 2009 at 08:43 PM
    Thanks for the article on Dupree, I first met him in 1958, my ex-husband who was a saxophonist in the Watts area were friends with him. Everyone in music use to hang at one time or another in Watts (jam). I last saw Dupree in the 70's, and I also wonder what happen to his brother Dodge who was a very talented piano player. Thanks again for keeping such a genius of a person memories. Dupree was also famous for his style of dressing, alway sharp. Again praise to the music and the innovators.
  • 21 R Hyder // May 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM
    I am humbled to be writing here amongst those somehow connected to Dupree Bolton. I first heard about this most intriguing of legends courtesy of a Richard Williams piece for Granta some years ago. Ted's own quest came to my attention as part of research I do for my weekly radio show from Karachi/Islamabad, Pakistan, featuring brassmen fronting experimental jazz outfits. Apart from the format's obvious debt to Miles, Dupree is the one with a more than regular tenancy (ironically, much like his recurring prison stints) purely for what still, to this day sounds like nothing else. He pushed the envelope to a level of reverence I have held ever since I first heard Katanga. Thank you, Ted, for a romance that shall endure and may yet push me to pick up the horn in my thirties. Saddened as I am for stumbling across Bolton's music so very late in life, who would've thought a lost West Coast hardbopper would inspire such love in this part of the world.
  • 22 Michael // Jun 10, 2009 at 02:22 PM
    Thanks for this great article and also for your book, which I enjoyed a lot, Ted! :)
  • 23 Ed Barreveld // Jun 29, 2009 at 05:20 PM
    I just returned from Paris and decided on the flight back to North America to listen to some music on my iPod that had gotten short thrift. I landed on the Curtis Amy Mosaic set that somehow I had overlooked. Being a fan of Lee Morgan, I was blown away by the trumpeter on the session, who is, of course, Dupree Bolton! I was delighted to find your two part investigation. What a terribly sad life for such a great player. It seems great trumpet players die young or fade into obscurity. I immediately bought Dupree's Fireball from iTunes and a copy of Ted's book West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California, 1945-1960" from Amazon. Fantastic investigative job!
  • 24 Ed Barreveld // Jun 29, 2009 at 05:33 PM
    Further to my last post, I neglected to mention three other overlooked talented musicians on the Curtis Amy set - organist Paul Bryant, trombonist Roy Brewster and guitarist Ray Crawford - who did some memorable time with Ahmad Jamal. The set also features some wonderful vibes work by Roy Ayers before he went commercial.
  • 25 cultchas // Aug 09, 2009 at 12:20 PM
    Well done Mr. Glola! Thanks for writing this article. This is the most comprehensive information on the great trumpeter Dupree Bolton. Five million stars to both you and of course, Dupree Bolton (R.I.P).
  • 26 chancelucky // Aug 12, 2009 at 05:08 AM
    Ted, Thanks for a great article.There's something about Dupree Bolton's career that captures the essential mystery of jazz. I also applaud what you did with the tapes you made in the 1980's. When I reviewed Fireball, I had very mixed feelings about the Oklahoma tapes. It felt like his talent is better remembered and represented through the Fox and Katanga. btw your book West Coast Jazz initially led me to the Fox and Bolton.
  • 27 Robert J. Carmack // Jan 09, 2010 at 11:56 AM
    Wow! after reading your well written piece on Dupree, I felt like I just watched a Film Noir movie late at night.the kind where you just happened to turn the TV on as its showing some cats blowing,and you see where its goes! I found Dupree through Listening to the Fox. a friend burned a copy for me and I've been a fan ever since. I've liked Harold Land ever since I was a kid just learning saxophone in L.A.circa 1965. I played with a local Musician/teacher named Henry Grant. He led a group of youth in a jazz big band. Gerald Wilson helped to support this band too by donating charts, music stands, and words of encouragement. He introduced me to Ornette Coleman after practice one saturday. That really made an impression on me, & why I should take practicing jazz seriously. Mr Grant had a store onsite with rehearsal space. my late father took me all the way from watts every saturday to(Venice blvd & 10 Ave.) practice with this band. They already had youngsters close to, or right at my age(14) who were very good. Harold Land's son was the Piano, Gerry Wiggins son,JJ at 12 was the bass player,Carl Randall played Tenor.and, Leslie Drayton played trumpet, not only a good trumpet player but a budding arranger/composer in his early teens. I only bring that up because there were many musicians in LA back in the 60s who did give back and help the youth. some of them like the ones I mentioned are still playing at the top of their game some 45 years later and working the kids as they were taught. I was just thinking about Dupree the other night when I decided to send Leslie a version of "Laura" played by Dupree Bolton off Youtube. no youtube, I wouldn't of heard this tune. All Due respect to a great musician, who just couldn't keep it all together. as they say, there are a million stories in the naked city,L.A.)This has been one of them...RJC