Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band

Riverboats and Jazz

Pictured above is the Sam Morgan Jazz Band, including (from left to right) Nolan Williams, Isaiah Morgan, Jim Robinson, Sam Morgan, Earl Fouche, Sidney Brown, Andrew Morgan, and Johnny Dave. The Morgan band was another New Orleans group which worked on the Capitol, usually alternating with one of Marable’s bands. Isaiah Morgan tells the story of the competition which occurred on one such excursion in which Marable was so angered by the audience’s enthusiasm for the Morgan band that he disconnected the amplifying device which the band was using. “The Streckfus people wondered why the band was not playing (or being heard), so I discovered Marable’s trick, turned the amplifier on, and the day was won.” The Morgan band, like Marable’s, was known for its consistent dance tempo, which may have accounted for its popularity on the riverboats. However, by the latter 1920’s, Marable’s bands (this one co-led by St. Louis cornetist Dewey Jackson) were made up primarily of non-New Orleans musicians, so the Sam Morgan Jazz Band also had the advantage of being the home-town favorite.