I was at the Cubs game yesterday doing video work for a project, and I grabbed a few moments of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band, who nearly brought a tear to my eye.
My late Uncle Jim Snyder, who lived and worked in Chicago for all of his adult life, was widely regarded as the best Dixieland trombonist in the world. He began playing as a teenager, joined the now legendary Salty Dogs at Purdue University in the 1950’s, toured the world for decades, and recorded dozens of albums. He was a very sweet man who passed away shortly before I moved to Chicago.
At his funeral, his fellow musicians testified that his love for his art was so powerful that simply playing with him made them all better musicians. At that time I was still struggling with a long-delayed desire to finally move from my hometown to Chicago pursue writing and comedy, and witnessing the effect that my uncle’s love for his music had on his life and those of others was very inspiring to me.
But I digress. Here’s a bit of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band:
As an added bonus, I’m going to include this 1991 clip of Uncle Jimmy performing at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, Illinois, with the Chicago Salty Dogs. As the videographer admits, the picture quality isn’t great, but I defy you to listen to this tune and not find your toes tapping a happy little rhythm: