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South Bend Tribune
November 8, 2009
Actual Story

Salty Dogs flattered by Jackson invite


Tribune Staff Writer

It had been a while since Michelle Jewell had seen Tom Bartlett, the trombonist for The Original Salty Dogs.

But when Jewell ran into him at the Elkhart Jazz Festival, she wanted to make one request.

But first, Jewell had to reintroduce herself.

She is the daughter of jazz saxophonist Franz Jackson and the organizer of the Third Annual Franz Jackson Jazz Celebration — a tribute concert featuring musicians who had performed with Jackson over the years. The Original Salty Dogs will perform at this year’s event, which will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 14.

The first concert was a birthday party for Jackson, who turned 95 on Nov. 1, 2007. He died on May 6, 2008.

The Original Salty Dogs’ connection to her father prompted Jewell to reintroduce herself to Bartlett.

“I asked him if he wanted to play at this year’s celebration, and he said that he would be flattered,” Jewell says.

By the time The Original Salty Dogs were founded in 1947 at Purdue University, Jackson was already an established figure on the jazz scene who had performed with legendary jazz figures.

Jewell says that her father played with individual members of the group and also sat in with the band on many occasions.

Jewell says that she usually tries to find performers who don’t live in the area to play at the celebration.

“I like to get musicians who people in this area don’t get to see,” she says.

However, Jewell says that she wanted The Original Salty Dogs to perform at this year’s celebration because she has fond memories of her father’s work with the group.

“He recorded an album with the group in 1990, and it is a favorite of mine because it had four of my dad’s original compositions on it,” Jewell says.

She believes Jackson wrote the songs in the 1920s or ’30s, and The Original Salty Dogs’ recording captured the big band feel and sound of that era.

Jewell also has good memories of the final time her father performed with The Original Salty Dogs. The band was in Chicago playing at a benefit concert for musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Jewell says she received a call asking if Jackson could come to Chicago and play at the benefit.

“It was a great night,” she says, “and the concert was for a great cause.”

Staff writer Howard Dukes: (574) 235-6369

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