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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Night Pastor And Seven Friends Play Chicago Jazz

The Night Pastor And Seven Friends Play Chicago Jazz
Claremont Record Company - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Produced by Castle Productions
Artwork: Richard Rush
Notes: The Night Pastor and the trombone player

Here's a gem of an obscurity. This surprisingly good oddity blends a little ministry with jazz. I think that you might agree that if anyone could minister wayward Chicago club scene entertainment workers and patrons it would be Owen.

Not only is the music top shelf, the engineering is absolutely impressive.

From the back cover: With the permission of the Right Reverend Gerald Francis Burrill, Bishop of Chicago, an Episcopal Priest works in one of the entertainment areas of Chicago, ministering to the spiritual needs of the people who work or play there. The Reverend Robert H. Owen is known as the Night Pastor to the musicians, bartenders, waiters, waitresses, singers, dancers and others who work or play in the Rush Street - Old Town Areas of Chicago during the late evening hours. A piano-player himself, Father Owen understands many of the problems of the "Night People" who do much of their work while the rest of the world plays or sleeps.

Who's Who On The Album:

Bob Cousins plays the drums. A winner on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout Show in the early fifties, Bob helped form the Salt City Five. Very active in Chicago Jazz both traditional and modern, he has been featured with the Pieces of Eight, Jack Teagarden, Bill Reindardt's Jazz Ltd. Band, and has played in many of the better society bands.

Jerry Fuller on clarinet and tenor sax, has played with Matty Matlock, Jack Teagarden, and many others including his own band. Currently he is featured with the Dukes Of Dixieland. This record is his first excursion as a tenor saxophonist. Let's hope it's not his last.

Andy Johnson is an excellent single jazz pianist and a good band man. He has worked with Georg Brunis, had his own trio in the east, played at Jazz Ltd., and does much work with Dave Remington at various spots in the midwest.

Joe Levinson has played bass fiddle with Wild Bill Davidson, at Nick's and at Condon's in New York City. He has worked with Woody Herman, and for several years had his own trio at the Hotel Pierre in New York.

Norman Murphy, trumpet, has been featured with Gene Krupa, and traveled with the Saints and Sinners Band which featured Vic Dickinson and Buster Bailey. He also played at Jazz Ltd., and is now a prominent Chicago Jazz Band Leader, playing at the Gas Light Club.

Johhny Porazzo, guitar and banjo, has appeared with Louis Armstrong, Vaughn Monroe and Wayne King. Working with singer Toni Lee Scott, he also travels with the Dave Remington band throughout the mid-west.

Trombonist and Leader of the band, Dave Remington worked with Jazz Ltd. Band and has had his own band for seven years. He worked with Joe Marsala, Rex Stewart, Serge Chaloff, Tex Benecke and Dukes Of Dixieland, and currently is jobbing in the Chicago area.

Beale St. Blues
Black And Blue
In A Little Spanish Town
Tin Roof Blues (Night Pastor on Piano)
Tiger Rag
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
St. Louis Blues (Night Pastor on Piano)
Exactly Like You

Owen's 1970 Chicago Tribune Obituary


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. If you like to know more about the album or Father Owen, let me know. The album was voted one of the top ten jazz albums of 1965 by NY Times. Oh, and the Night Pastor, Robert Owen, was my dad.
    Steve Owen

  3. If you like to know more about the album or Father Owen, let me know. The album was voted one of the top ten jazz albums of 1965 by NY Times. Oh, and the Night Pastor, Robert Owen, was my dad.
    Steve Owen

    1. Hello Steve! Thanks for commenting! If you feel like adding information or telling a story about your Father please do so as a comment. This would be a good way to help me as well as the public connect your Father's history at the time this recording was made. – Mark

    2. Steve, I just stumbled across this blog today. Norman Murphy was my father's (Bob (Beep) Brennan) cousin from around Minersville, PA. We called him Uncle Norman. My brother has this album, and my father listened to it all the time. I think at one time my Dad had a taped recording of this that he was given by my uncle when it was being recorded. We certainly don't hear enough of this good jazz music any more, but when I do hear it, I still remember my Uncle Norman visiting us and bringing with him numerous musicians. There was a story that Gene Krupa visited our house when I was a very young girl, and a picture was taken of me sitting on his lap when he was playing the drums, which by the way, was set up in our living room!! Great memories. Ginny (Brennan) Davis

    3. Ginny,
      That is so bizarre that I would read this today. I was just telling a Norm Murphy story to someone here in Chicago. I am visiting here from my home in Portland Oregon. Just went to visit my dad's old office here, it is a Prada store now. I have some pictures of Norm Murphy playing and I do have childhood memories of him. Was always told he was one of the great ones. My family lore was that Louis Armstrong held me as a baby, but I always took it with a grain of salt until a few years back I met Chuck Hedges, the clarinetist on the album made after this one. He told me that he was there, actually he said, 'don't know if it was you, but I was there with your mom, dad, a baby and Louis.' I take that as verification.

      I have a lot of newspaper clippings and some photos from that era. We love to chat and exchange items at sometime.

      Thanks for replying,
      Steve Owen
      (oh, I think I know how it set to receive notification of a response.)

  4. I actually have a copy of this record. Father Owen also turns up in an essay written by Walter Schwimmer in his book It Happened on Rush Street. It's the first piece in the book where Walter catches up with Lou Mariano and Father Owen at some long gone sandwich shop on Rush.

    1. Thanks for the reply and information. I was not aware of this book but I just found that book online and ordered it.


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