New Orleans jazz players Frank Netto (trombonist, New Orleans Owls) and Godfrey Hirsch (vibraphonist for Louis Prima and Pete Fountain among others) discuss here their contemporary, bandmate, and friend Edward “Snoozer” Quinn. This oral history, collected by musicologists for the Tulane University Hogan Jazz Archive, helps us better understand what kind of player Snoozer was in his prime.
Godfrey Hirsch: Did you ever do anything on Snoozer Quinn?
Curtis Jerde: Do anything? You mean, interview him?
Frank Netto: Well you couldn’t interview him because he died before…You got any record… He died of TB in Charity Hospital.
Godfrey Hirsch: You have any information on him?
Curtis Jerde: Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Godfrey Hirsch: I think he was from Bogalusa. I think that was his home.
Curtis Jerde: I’m not sure if it was Bogalusa. F
rank Netto: But it was yeah, it was right across the lake somewhere.
Godfrey Hirsch: But he was a fantastic guitar player.
Frank Netto: Oh yeah, no doubt.
Godfrey Hirsch: He was a fantastic guitar player. He was with Whiteman.
Frank Netto: He had that side head there… his head was out of shape.
Godfrey Hirsch: He was with us out at Suburban Gardens with Earl Crumb. And he was just sitting up there just playing between sets, not with the band. He couldn’t play with the band.
Curtis Jerde: He couldn’t play with the band?
Godfrey Hirsch: Not well, no. Because I mean, he was not a chord player. He was a picker.
Frank Netto: Well, he played on “off band” with Whiteman for years.
Godfrey Hirsch: Yeah…. yeah…
Curtis Jerde: Oh, he didn’t play with Whiteman’s band?
Godfrey Hirsch: No, no.
Curtis Jerde: Intermission player, huh?
Godfrey Hirsch: That’s right.
Frank Netto: He was an intermission player
Godfrey Hirsch: Yeah, intermission player.
Frank Netto: Because he made his own tempos and he made his own variations, and he made his own tunes as he went along.
Godfrey Hirsch: He was the first one that started off with this, picking the melody with his fingers on the frets. I don’t know how they do it, but they can pick the melody with their fingers on the frets. With their left hand.
Frank Netto: I notice these bass players with the, the electric bass players today? They do that. You can see them around, they press the t fret down and the note will come out and they regulate their volume that way.
Godfrey Hirsch and Frank Netto were interviewed by Curtis D. Jerde and Richard B. Allen on November 10, 1986 in New Orleans, La. Courtesy of the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University