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Mississippi Moments Podcast

These are the stories of our people in their own words. From sharecroppers to governors, the veterans, artists, writers, musicians, leaders, followers, all those who call Mississippi home. Since 1971 we've collected their memories. The technology has changed, but our mission remains the same: to preserve those wonderful stories. Listen to Mississippi Moments Monday through Friday. at 12:30pm on MPB think radio.
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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 a year ago
    Marianne Cissell Thomas
    Dad's comments about being a Big Band drummer.