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Mississippi Moments Podcast

After fifty years, we've heard it all. From the horrors of war to the struggle for civil rights, Mississippians have shared their stories with us. The writers, the soldiers, the activists, the musicians, the politicians, the comedians, the teachers, the farmers, the sharecroppers, the survivors, the winners, the losers, the haves, and the have-nots. They've all entrusted us with their memories, by the thousands. You like stories? We've got stories. After fifty years, we've heard it all.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Oct 17, 2016
MSM 501 Art Cissell - The Big Band Era

Art Cissell became a professional drummer in St. Louis during the Big Band Era.  In this episode, he remembers the St. Louis music scene of the 1930s & 40s.  Cissell began drumming at the age of five when his father gave him a real snare drum to pass the time while quarantined with the measles.  He joined his first Big Band in 1936 at the age of 16.  Cissell describes working full time during the day and playing the drums, nights and weekends.

Even though the country was racially segregated during the Big Band Era, musicians often crossed color lines to play together. Cissell recalls sitting in with some of the most famous musicians of the day and playing the St. Louis Harlem Club until the sun came up.

After years of playing in Big Bands, Cissell took a job at Keesler Air Force Base as an electronics instructor.  He recounts how he and other Gulf Coast musicians formed The Star Dusters in 1968.

 

Photo: Cab Calloway, FSU World Music Online.

1 Comments
  • over five years ago
    Marianne Cissell Thomas
    Dad's comments about being a Big Band drummer.
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