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The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection The Charles N. Huggins Project

Dick Lammi

Turk Murphy scrapbook 1945-51


b. Red Lodge, MT 1/15/09 d. San Francisco, CA 11/29/69

Dick Lammi was the first tuba player to record during the San Francisco revival and was present on all but one of the Yerba Buena Jazz Band's recordings.

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.

There, he took up the tuba and played sessions with Lu Watters, Turk Murphy and others who were interested in reviving "The Truth."

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.

Bob Wilber and Dick Lammi

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.

Turk Murphy Jazz Band with Charles 'Duff' Campbell (not a member of the band; holding cornet in the absence of Don Kinch), Dick Lammi, Wally Rose, Bob Short, Bob Helm and Turk Murphy

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.