The D.C. Six Plus One Jazz Band

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Notes (non-musical) by John Skillman
May 7 2014

The "DC" in the Band name refers to Washington DC, kind of the center of all the locations where the Band members live.... but nobody actually lived in DC. I must be the only person in history that actually wanted to put the "District of Columbia" in a name, in spite of the political bad feeling that name brings up in many people!

This band was assembled from people that I had played with for several years in the Washington DC area and the impetus to actually assemble these guys was really two factors: first, I had accumulated some free studio time after playing the Banjo (yup me on Banjo) on several tracks for Bob Connor, a neighbor, fellow musician and electronics engineer, in some of his musical demo tracks. He had a part time job at Track Studios, so he could authorize my free time, as long as he did all the engineering. Bob was an interesting guy, a top electronics engineer at Westinghouse Inc near Baltimore, who left his job to seek a career in music in Nashville. His wife gave him one year to "Make It". Not sure how that all worked out for him. We musicians are sometimes pretty crazy... but Bob... might be our leader.

Next, John Thomas a wonderful musician - trumpet player, was about to move to Florida to seek a full time career as a musician. I had played with John for several years and did not want him to get away before I got a chance to record with him in a quality studio setting. John had worked for years at (I think) Western Union in Washington, but really was not happy there. He had great musical talent we all knew. He had even organized a small reading band of musicians just in his neighborhood were he lived. They were pretty good too. In Florida, he did end up playing with many great musicians, including the Jack Maheu (famous New York and New Orleans Clarinetist) with his band, touring the country and Europe for several years. I saw John playing with Jack's Paradise City Jazz Band at The King of France Tavern in Annapolis MD. The whole group was great.

I picked all the Band members except, John wanted to include Don Stratton, a Navy Band musician living in Alexandria Va. I had never heard Don, but on John's recommendation I called Don. After playing with him, I was glad I did. Don is living near Hersey Pennsylvania today.

The Drummer was Johnny Roulet, whom I went on to play with later (for about 15 years) in The Buck Creek Jazz Band. I remember helping Johnny carry his drums into the recording session from the car. For some reason, his legs were cramping up and he was not sure he could play, but sure did .... and very well. John is stll living in Alexandria Va, but is not playing anymore. John would tell you he has been retired from his day job twice as many years as he worked!

The Piano Guy was Al Stevens, who also played cornet and later moved to Florida too. In Florida he played with Bill Allred's band for a couple of years, one of the top Traditional Bands in the country. Al was a brilliant guy and into alot of things. He was an ace computer programmer, and wrote several books on computer programming. he also was (and is) a ventriloquist..

The Bass player was Stan Booth, the number one bass guy in the Washington DC area at the time. As I listen to this recording 40 years later, I've come to appreciate even more how really good this guy is. Stan moved to San Diego shortly after we made this recording. He is living in Texas now and playing Bluegrass, among other things.

The Banjo guy was Donn Andre. Donn and I had become acquainted as we both lived in the same town in Maryland- Bowie Maryland. We both shared a love for this music and had played together in The Southern Comfort Jazz Band, and many others. Donn has now bought a house in Florida, while keeping his house in Maryland. Donn is not playing the ole Banjo much these days, a real shame. Donn really influenced the tune list without knowing it. I had not planned on recording "Yes Sir, That’s My Baby", but Donn started playing it as a warm-up and we all jumped in. It came out so well, I kept it on the CD.

After this recording session was mixed, I really didn't know what to do with it. I kept thinking I would hire somebody to press it and release the Album. . But somehow, I never did..... too buzy with my day Job as an Electronics Engineer I guess.(loved engineering as much as music). Also there was the issue that several months after the recording, several of the Guys were no longer in the area..... so what was our future? I was pretty inexperienced in those things in those days..... I didn't realize what a great band I had.... I should have promoted it on the National Scene.

JOHN SKILLMAN 7 May 2014.


John Skillman


John Thomas


Don Stratton


Stan Booth


John Roulet


Donn Andre


Al Stevens

Audio of DC Six Plus One:

Recorded September 12, 1974 at Track Studios, Silver Spring MD. Recording Engineer: Bob Connor. Producer: John Skillman. Personnel: John Skillman: Clarinet/Leader, John Thomas: Trumpet, Don Stratton: Trombone, Stan Booth: Bass, John Roulet: Drums, Donn Andre: Banjo, Al Stevens: Piano

Careless Love:
Yes Sir, That's My Baby:
I'm Goin Home:
Once In A While:
Avalon:
Back Home Again in Indiana:
You Took Advantage of Me:
Just A Closer Walk:
Wang Wang Blues:


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