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Bob Ball

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I started playing drums in my senior year at Cheltenham (PA) High School in 1953.  Two of our snare drummers quit, and the band director asked for two volunteers to carry snare drums so that our small marching band would look like we had a section.  I put away my clarinet and, with no training, started to play in the marching band.  During the next year, I took a few lessons, and then formed a band including: Byron Prusky on Alto Sax, Mel Fishman on Piano, Mickey Perkins on Guitar , and the late Jim 'Duke' McCullough on Bass.  We played private parties, college gigs etc., but always with a jazz flavor.  

Later, as the group started to scatter when some of us were drafted or enlisted in the enlisted in the Army, and some us left to attend schools out of town, the personnel of the band would vary from time to time.  However, Duke and I generally played together, and players such as Howard  Silverman or Jules Seder on piano, Larry Schwartz and later Dr. Donald Brown on Tenor Sax, Congas and Vocals, began to front the group.  Working with Duke, I had the privilege and pleasure of backing up other premiere musicians such as Sonny Bernstein (Piano), Vince Trombetta  (Tenor Sax), Stan 'The Man' Maltz (Trumpet & Vocals), Bernard Pieffer (Piano), and other great local musicians. 

I took lessons from Jules Benner and later took lessons for a short time with Sammy Anflick (a/k/a Sonny Ellis) while earning my degree from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.  Then the army draft ended things for me for a couple of years.  After my stint in the Army was up, I started playing with Duke and later Tom Mignona - on bass and we played with Jules Seder (Piano), Ted Jones (Trumpet & Vocals), and the other horn players with whom I worked before going into the Army.  One of the finest horn players I had the pleasure to backup before my Army service was Larry McKenna.  That was the last gig I played before I left for the Army, and Larry left to join Woody Herman. 

Finally, with no drums in the house for over 30 years, the best percussionist in our family, Jon Ball, talked me into playing again at 23rd Street.

 

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