New Jazz Archive Features Rare Audio of Louis Armstrong & Other Legends Playing in San Francisco

satchmo club hangover

Any inves­ti­ga­tion into San Francisco’s jazz hey­day of the 1950s requires a stop at the Club Hang­over. Oper­at­ed by band­leader Doc Dougher­ty on Bush Street through­out the decade, the club became a Dix­ieland jazz head­quar­ters.

Now home to an adult movie the­ater, the club is long closed. The music lives on how­ev­er in record­ings made at the time, which are now avail­able online, much of it for the first time ever, in com­plete, unedit­ed record­ings.

Using tapes pre­served by radio sta­tion KCBS, jazz broad­cast­er Dave Rad­lauer has archived KCBS broad­casts of Hang­over ses­sions from 1954–58. On-air host Bob Goern­er inter­viewed musi­cians from the KCBS sta­tion using a ded­i­cat­ed phone line that deliv­ered a sig­nal from the club on Nob Hill. Goern­er pre­served the show tapes, which are now housed in the Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Braun Music archive.

Rad­lauer makes the archive avail­able as .mp3 files, includ­ing one par­tic­u­lar­ly his­toric jam ses­sion star­ring Louis Arm­strong. The sto­ry goes that in Jan­u­ary, 1951 Arm­strong was in San Fran­cis­co to vis­it his friend clar­inetist Pee Wee Rus­sell in the hos­pi­tal and decid­ed to throw Rus­sell a fundrais­er. He brought togeth­er a mas­ter­ful group includ­ing pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, cred­it­ed with help­ing tran­si­tion jazz piano from stride to swing. The place was packed and $1,500 went into the kit­ty for Russell’s med­ical bills. You can lis­ten to Arm­strong’s rehearsal and per­for­mance below.



“Fatha” Hines was quite a per­former him­self. A pop­u­lar head­lin­er, his music ranged from Dix­ieland to bop. Anoth­er favorite at the Hang­over was Mug­gsy Spanier, a cor­netist known for his emo­tion­al solos and mas­ter­ful use of the plunger mute.

These guys lived in the Bay Area: Hines was a res­i­dent of Oak­land, Spanier lived in Sausal­i­to and trom­bon­ist Kid Ory raised chick­ens for a time in Petaluma.

club hangover

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Kate Rix writes about edu­ca­tion and dig­i­tal media. Vis­it her web­site: .

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Nazis’ 10 Con­trol-Freak Rules for Jazz Per­form­ers: A Strange List from World War II

10 Great Per­for­mances From 10 Leg­endary Jazz Artists: Djan­go, Miles, Monk, Coltrane & More

A Child’s Intro­duc­tion to Jazz by Can­non­ball Adder­ley (with Louis Arm­strong & Thelo­nious Monk)

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  • Dan Diez says:

    I saw Louis Arm­strong play at the Macum­ba night­club in the 1950’s on Grant Street, San Fran­cis­co.

    I had my pic­ture tak­en with him the night he played which he signed “To Dan from Louis Arm­strong– “Satch­mo”

    A cou­ple of things I would like to know:

    (1) The date he played at the Macum­ba when I saw and heard the show. I think it was 1956, not sure.

    (2) How to get the address of the build­ing hous­ing the Macum­ba club on Grant Street as the Club is no longer there.

    I am will­ing to send copies of the pic­ture I had with Louis for any­one inter­est­ed.



  • Mike says:

    My grand­fa­ther owned The Macum­ba Club. Lee Jones was his name.

  • Kevel Jane gutman says:

    I also saw louis arm­strong play at the macum­ba club in ear­ly 1956‑I went with a Tamal­pais High school friend and his par­ents. We were all big jazz fans and I think Louis had his all-star side­men play­ing with him:Trummy Young,etc and maybe Vel­ma Middleton.What a thrill for a 17 tear old girl and I’m not sure but maybe I was served a drink there! We all real­ly dressed up then and it was hard to tell ages.….those were the days

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