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country as The Original Creole Band over what was the largest circuit in the world at that time, finally landing at the Palace Theatre in Xew York. This was in 1918, long before the so-called Original Dixieland Band was thought of.
It was known that no act played the Palace Theatre in New York for more than one week, but the Original Creoles played for weeks to standing-room-only.
Later at the Grand Theatre in Chicago they took the town over and caused John Armstrong, my trumpet player, to quit.
Armstrong came from Louisville. I had tried to teach him New Orleans style, but he was stubborn. Weil, when he heard Freddie Keppard, hitting those high C's, Fs and G's as clean as a whistle, he got ashamed and refused to play anymore.
There was no limit to how Freddie could go. Louis Armstrong has never been in his class. Among trumpets 1 would rate Freddie first, Buddy Petit second, King Oliver third, and then comes Armstrong, all very great men. Freddie would agree with me. He was a real Creole, about my color, Creole accent, a good spender, wore plenty nice clothes, had women hanging around all day long, liked to drink a lot * (all the band drank up everything they could find), and he talked so big that people misunderstood and thought he was egotistical. This caused the break-up of this great band in the end.
They were always in an argument on account of Freddie's big talk. He would arrive at rehearsal an hour late and say, TLet them wait for me. The band can't play till I get there." Morgan Prince, the comedian with the band, was not a Creole and he took Freddie seriously. In one argument he hit Kep-pard across the head with a cane and that started the breaking
* "A quart a day?" said Johnny St. Cyrs "That was at the beginning. But Freddie Keppard graduated from that. Man, when I was in Chicago, Freddie would drink all day. He'd go in the local union when it open at one o'clock and start off with a pint of white lightning. Sit down and play hearts to round Ive o'clock and by that time he done drank up two pints. He'd go home and eat—he kept a gallon or two at home—and he'd lounge around there and drink tip a pint and men he'd take a pint with him at night. His average was about <et half a gallon to three quarts a dav.w