I cannot find out much information about the drummer-xylophonist Dillon Ober. John Chilton wrote no thumbnail biography of him; he does not appear in Sudhalter’s LOST CHORDS. I have no photograph to share with you (although Don Ingle says that Ober looked like Robert Benchley, later went to work in the Hollywood studios, and was a superb drummer).
All I can ascertain is that he recorded with a Ted Weems small band in 1922, with Irving Mills, Ben Bernie, and Jack Pettis in the latter half of the Twenties. After that . . . ?
But a jazz scholar who wishes to remain anonymous has been able to read a diary that Ober kept in that period. Aside from the intriguing period data (gigs played, personnel of bands, wages, names of friends, telephone numbers and addresses) there are a number of strongly worded philosophical statements: Ober was obviously someone who observed the scene closely and expressed himself wittily.
Here are two gems:
I like jazz music and my girlfriends to be SOFT and HOT. That FAST and LOUD that other people go for does nothing for me.
Those people who say they “like the music” are fine, I guess. We need them. But they want to talk to me before I’m playing, after I’m playing, sometimes even when I have the sticks in my hands. Do I come up to a doctor or a lawyer while he’s in the operating room or the courtroom to tell him how he should have done that operation or won that case? I can’t stand them.
More to come.
May your happiness increase.