Monday, July 19, 2004

Aloha From Bill Tapia's Former Bandleader

A month or so ago I received some wonderful correspondence from Ken McCaulou, aka "Kenny McCall", leader of the Oakland-based "Kenny McCall Orchestra" (pictured left). Sez Ken:

"Billy was in my band in '52,'53,'54 when we did a weekly live remote show from The Ali Baba Ballroom in Oakland over San Francisco Channel 7.  He played guitar and steel mostly, but I used to feature him playing his Ukulele and singing on the front edge of the bandstand with a coconut hat. He got most of the fan mail !  He uses a picture of that scene with my band for his promo material still today...

"I'll contact the documentary film people about Bill Tapia and some of the zany musical acts we did with him. If he keeps playing I'm sure he'll make it past 100. I'm supposed to go down for his birthday party on New Years Day.

Ken still plays today in The Certificates, a Bay-Area-based swing band that recently released their first CD (available on their site).

"I'm doing more playing of Uke than I do my Sax and Clarinet nowadays. I'm teaching it to my 7 year old grandson and I took him to Santa Cruz Uke Festival last month to be with Billy and he won the Martin Ukulele being raffled !!"
(Lucky kid!)
"I imagine you follow all the good stuff Jim Beloff  is doing for Uke playing just like I do. Nice reading your comments."
Well, thank you, Ken!

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