Sylvester Ahola Interview 1983

by Albert Haim

Uploaded to youtube by Nick Dellow. This is Nick's description of the video.

This is an interview I conducted with dance band / jazz musician Sylvester "Hooley" Ahola (1902-1995) in October 1983, when Hooley was 81 years old and I was 22 years old (the age gap seemed to narrow pretty quickly)!

Upon entering the spacious house that he had built in the early 1930s - just down the road from his Finnish parents' farm in Lanesville, Massachusetts, USA - Hooley played a trumpet fanfare and then some jazz on the trumpet and mellophone, accompanied by himself on bass drum and hi-hat!

This was the first of four visits I made during the 1980s to Hooley's lovely home. This interview mainly concentrates on his period as a dance band musician in London, from the end of December 1927 until September 1931, though there are also fleeting references to his work in the USA. Apart from Hooley's voice and mine, the other voice you will occasionally hear is that of his wife Saima.

The photographs are either ones that I took at the time or ones from the late 1920s/early 1930s. The second photograph is of Hooley and myself, taken by Saima in their garden. The one you see of Hooley playing the trumpet by the lake was also taken in their garden. The colour photo of Hooley on the steps of his house was taken by someone in the 1960s.

After the interview, Hooley played along to his own muted solo on one of the Zonophone Salon Orchestra recordings he made in London in 1928. His mute falls out and Saima says "another expensive dent"! Incidentally, the photo of the basket of mutes includes one that he lent to Bix Beiderbecke in 1927.

I need not remind you, do I, that Hooley was Bix's band mate in Rollini's New Yorkers in the Fall of 1927.


Posted on Apr 20, 2017, 4:08 PM

Respond to this message

Goto Forum Home