By Hal Smith
RICHARD LAMMI, tuba
b. Red Lodge, MT 1/15/09 d. San Francisco, CA 11/29/69
Originally a violinist, banjoist and string bassist, Lammi was active in the Northwest in dance bands and symphonies before relocating to San Francisco in 1936.
Lammi was in Watters' rehearsal band in 1940 and was still aboard when the group became the Yerba Buena Jazz Band and began playing regularly at the Dawn Club.
He rejoined the YBJB after World War II and stayed with them until they disbanded.
Subsequently, he played tuba, string bass and banjo with Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey, The Polecats, the Red Garter Banjo Band, and the Great Pacific Jazz Band, where he also played violin.
Lammi's style, whether on tuba, sousaphone or helicon, was deceptively simple; a heavily-accented root-and-fifth pattern, framed by wall-shaking glissandos.
While this style fit the YBJB rhythm section perfectly, it did not catch on with subsequent generations of brass bassists as a primary influence.
Still, the author has heard nearly all the tubaists mentioned herein pay tribute to Dick Lammi at least once, with a well-timed, hearty gliss which never fails to enliven the musical proceedings.