Phil's Jazz Bands
Honolulu, Hawaii 1966-1967
In the fall of 1966, Carol and I started our faculty positions at the
University of Hawaii at the main campus in Oahu.
Within a month or so, I began playing gigs with Ernie Carson and Dave
Wierbach, both recent alums of the Turk Murphy band. Ernie played piano
and cornet. Dave played banjo and bass sax.
Ernie and I had a gig for a while at a German restaurant on Kalakaua
Ave., Waikiki Beach. Ernie played piano and sang, I did the same with
banjo. Often, Ernie would chord with his left hand and play cornet with his
Ernie, Dave and I did a lot of gigs with cornet, bass sax and banjo. We
often added a clarinet and trombone. A memorable gig with the quintet:
We played for a dancing elephant at a Republican state convention.
My wife, Carol, and I had an apartment on the top floor of a building. It
had a great view of the ocean, the Ilikai and Hilton Hawaiian village.
Within a block or so from us was the Barbecue Inn, a local restaurant.
The BBQ Inn was really local and did NOT serve tourists. If tourists
walked in, the help disappeared.
We got accepted into their limited community via music. Dave
Wierbach (known there as Dave Banjo) and Ernie Carson had a small group
that played there and they asked me to play banjo with them.
One weekend, the newspapers were full of reports that Ernie Banks, a
famous baseball player with the Chicago Cubs, did not show up in Tokyo
where the Cubs were scheduled to play an exhibition game.
Where was he? He was sitting in playing banjo with our little group at the
I also hooked up with the Shakey's Pizza organization and played many
nights at their restaurants in downtown Honolulu, Pearl City and Kaneohe.