Bob Cooke and the Queen City Jazz Band
So many of our band members, alumni and fans remember Bob’s driving trumpet playing in the Mon Vue days. Imagine twenty-four-years at that little country roadhouse. Every Friday and Saturday night. Bob Cooke, Alan Frederickson, Herb Ordelheid and Bill Murray were the back bone in the early days along with a number of others. With Bob as musical leader and cornetist that band built the foundation for the longest enduring trad band this country has yet to see.
But in 1962 Bob made a significant career move when he left the band and moved to Seattle to complete his education in pstychology. Herb switched from tuba to cornet and I filled in on tuba until the band got lucky with Dave Mouldenhaur to assume the lead horn position. Even more remember how he swung the band later at the Back Room at the Oxford and Zeno’s in Larimer Square. When I joined the band at the Back Room the musicians were Bob Cooke, Alan Frederickson, Lee Peters, Ray Leake, Maurie Walker and Jack Cook. After the Mon Vue gig ended due to the owners passing away the band tried floated awhile. The Oxford back room attracted new and old fans and rejuvenated the QC band. Bob brought to that ensemble his thoughtful ensemble playing with clear unmatched creativity and energy and made that era of QCJB’s history
From Bar Band to National Recognition
Until Bob rejoined the band at the Back Room, we were a two-night-a-week Denver band. I remember Bob initiating the conversation to encourage us to start recording and applying to national jazz festivals. We were invited to the second Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and the Queen City Jazz Band was immediately recognized as one of the finest bands in the United States. Festival invitations came quickly after that as did excellent recordings that sold hand over fist. In all the years since, the QCJB has ranked among the best and enjoyed national success. It was Bob Cooke who ignited a fire under those musicians at Zeno’s in the 70s and helped us to see that awaited us on the national stage.