First, a story from the man I call The Swing Explorer — the magnificent saxophonist Joel Press:
Buzzy Drootin spent his final decades in the Boston area, initially, with brother Al’s excellent Dixie band at the Scotch and Sirloin (Al rescued him from a day gig at Manny’s Music Store in New York City), and later on the Cape and at Sandy’s Jazz Revival in Beverly, Massachusetts.
When Sandy’s reopened in the Eighties, Bob Wilber led a band which included guitarist Gray Sargent, trumpeters Jeff Stout and Dave Whitney, trombonist Phil Wilson, tenor saxophonists Art Bartol and myself. Gray, Jeff, and I played in Buzzy’s quintet throughout the following summer.
Buzzy retained his love for the music and his sense of humor throughout his final years. When a member of the audience requested a Latin number, Buzzy replied, “We only play American music.”
Second, a video preserved for us by archivist and musician Bob Erwig, of a Wild Bill Davison group performing in Sweden in 1984:
The other musicians are trombonist Bill Allred, clarinetist Chuck Hedges, pianist Bob Pilsbury, and bassist Jack Lesberg. Listen to Buzzy behind the first choruses of Bill and Wild Bill, and his work in the final chorus. You can’t hear Buzzy’s trademark growl-roar as well as you should, but the joy on his face is vivid, his energy is audible, and his pulse is wonderful.