FIVE FIRSTS: Skip Parsons of the Riverboat Jazz Band
NAME: Skip Parsons
BAND AFFILIATION: Skip Parsons’ Riverboat Jazz Band
1. THE FIRST (Record…! I’m old!) ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Bix and Bing Crosby with Paul Whiteman – “You Took Advantage of Me.” Still have it…
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Salt City Five at Otto’s, Latham, NY 1952
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Clarinet, 1947. Alto Sax, 1951
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “In the Gloaming.” 1947, age 11. In a studio at the Hendrick Hudson Hotel in Troy, NY. Seem to think the second song was “Sabre Dance,” 1948. First jazz song played – “St Louis Blues,” 1950. At a high school talent day.
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … the Philip Livingston Junior High School Band, Albany, NY. 1949. There were also two guys: Vince Catalano and Pat Haggerty that had bands I rehearsed with for short spells. 1949-1950. Then formed my own band. Skip Parsons’ Rhythm Kings in 1951. Back then, I liked and played lots of Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong favorites. Plus some dance tunes and blues. I was steadfast and didn’t give in to the new R&B. I wanted to make jazz & not play somebody else’s notes. That seemed corny and uncreative. In 1956 a group of us got together, to keep the sounds of early jazz alive. We formed a band and called it the Riverboat Six. Later: The Riverboat Jazz Band. The rest is history.
Skip Parsons teams up with Riverboat Jazz Band mates on Friday and Saturday, October 9-10 at the Fountain at 283 New Scotland Ave., Albany. That’s no surprise because Skip and his buddies have been at the Fountain on the second Friday and Saturday of each month – since 1971.
Photo of Skip Parsons by Cliff Lamere