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Discussion Starter #1
There's always been doubt as to whether Rudy Wiedoeft ever played one of the Holton saxophones named for him. But this evening I was browsing through the library newspaper databases and found something exciting: a tiny blurb in the January 20, 1928 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, well, read for yourself!

View attachment 244514

This is huge. Even if this wasn't a permanent thing, and setting the obvious advertising hyperbole aside, it's obvious that Wiedoeft at least used the Rudy model for this engagement (and it was a multi-night engagement; I found an identical ad in an earlier issue).

Wiedoeft apparently performed in St. Louis several times during the 1920s. He performed at the Odeon on October 4, 1923, described as "the man who makes the saxophone human". AND he apparently did a live performance for KMOX in 1927.

...I work in St. Louis, so yes, this is huge on a personal level, too. :)
 

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There's always been doubt as to whether Rudy Wiedoeft ever played one of the Holton saxophones named for him. But this evening I was browsing through the library newspaper databases and found something exciting: a tiny blurb in the January 20, 1928 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, well, read for yourself!

View attachment 244514

This is huge. Even if this wasn't a permanent thing, and setting the obvious advertising hyperbole aside, it's obvious that Wiedoeft at least used the Rudy model for this engagement (and it was a multi-night engagement; I found an identical ad in an earlier issue).

Wiedoeft apparently performed in St. Louis several times during the 1920s. He performed at the Odeon on October 4, 1923, described as "the man who makes the saxophone human". AND he apparently did a live performance for KMOX in 1927.

...I work in St. Louis, so yes, this is huge on a personal level, too. :)
Well that’s a seriously cool find. Excellent idea looking at the newspaper microfiche from a local library. I get lost for hours in that kind of stuff.
Wherever I stuck the link Holton trumpets last night . There is a mention of somebody dumpster diving for the Holton archive records. Also mentions the archive is being held by the University of South Dakota? Then stated not for public viewing, yet. Feel brave? Go for it!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I actually work at the library, and during some free time I just decided to search the Post-Dispatch records for anything they might have printed relating to Rudy Wiedoeft; St. Louis had a lot of famous musical personalities pass through back in the day, so I thought maybe there might have been mention of a performance. Most of what I found were ads for records, but there was also a mention of the 1937 stabbing incident and also a touching obituary. I'm thinking about checking a few external databases next; now that I know he played a Rudy model in St. Louis, I'd love to know if he used it anywhere else!

The University of South Dakota? I know they have a pretty impressive museum centered around music, so it's not too surprising that the records ended up there. It seems I'd have to go there in person and make an appointment to see them, so I guess have another reason to want to visit! (The first reason was the two Couesnon Saxies they have in their collection...)
 

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Here is the text for anyone having trouble reading the original:




Rudy Wiedoeft
WORLD’S PREMIER SAXOPHONIST
Now Appearing at AMBASSADOR THEATRE
Exclusively Uses the Rudy Wiedoeft Model
HOLTON SAXOPHONE

This is one of Rudy Wiedoeft’s first professional appearances with the Rudy Wiedoeft model Holton Saxophone. His present tour is the outstanding triumph in many years of stage, radio and recording work-- a result in which the marvelous Improvements embodied in this instrument share part of the glory.

Come in and compare the Rudy Wiedoeft model to your present instrument in tone, tune, balance, lightness of action, lay of the keys. You will enjoy the trial beyond any you have ever made before.

The same perfection evident in Rudy Wiedoeft’s model Saxophones is found in the entire line of Holton instruments for band and orchestra.


SPORLEDER MUSIC HOUSE, INC.​
3572 OLIVE ST.
Exclusive Holton Dealers in St. Louis​






.
 

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I actually work at the library, and during some free time I just decided to search the Post-Dispatch records for anything they might have printed relating to Rudy Wiedoeft; St. Louis had a lot of famous musical personalities pass through back in the day.
Cool find!

Where do you work? I'm just up the road at EIU's Booth Library! What platform has the archives for The Post-Dispatch? I'm fairly certain we don';t have it, but it would be good to balance out our Chicago papers. Have you tried looking up Frankie Trumbauer?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I work at St. Louis Public's Central branch downtown. The Post-Dispatch issues are hosted by Pro Quest Historical Newspapers, and contain all the issues from 1874 to 2003. Looking up Trumbauer is a good idea; I'd be surprised if I didn't come up with something on him, since he definitely spent some time in the St. Louis area.
 

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Great find. It actually NEVER made sense to me that Rudy would have had an endorsement contract with Holton, and even acted as a consultant on design of a new model....and NEVER have publicly played the instrument.

A lotta Holton naysayers out there on the internet who waste no opportunity to belittle their saxes.

Glad you are here, Saxie 24 !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wiedoeft is known for playing a Selmer C-melody later in his career, but he also played alto and soprano. Maybe the alto was the Holton? There's an image of him holding a Rudy model alto on promotional brochures; probably an advertising stunt, but it's an interesting point to consider.
 

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My teacher, the late Marvin Kam of Buffalo, N.Y., studied under Rudy in the late 1920s. Rudy struck a friendship with one of the Selmer brothers during a European tour in the early 1920s and since he preferred a concert sound he took up the Selmer Cmelody. I have about 80 recorded sides by Rudy from the late teens-late 20s and have not heard anything that does not sound like a C melody. According to my teacher, he did not like the sound of American horns and preferred the formal sound of the C melody, especially the Selmers, which were known for a small bore. Rudy was most interested in the new "French" harmonies and was a fan of concert music. He played the tricky novelty numbers for the $ and popularity they gained for him. Holton signed a deal to put his name on the C melodies around 1927. Somewhere in late 1928, they added the alto, soprano, tenor, and baritone. He had nothing to do with their design and probably played the "Rudy Model" on performances paid for by Holton. By 1928, his recordings became fewer and his name was no longer a household name, so surely he was trying to gain financially. In 1928 his brother, Herb, was killed in a car crash and Rudy began to drink excessively. When the depression began, Holton finished up production of the Rudys and must have voided their contract with him, as the last Rudys do not have his name on them. His life was quite sad and he died an alcoholic in 1940. Sounds like a lot of touring musicians I have known, which is why I never did the "road thing" except for a few one week tours years ago. I always play my Rudy soprano, alto, and tenor for two-four performances per week. They are the same Holton horns as the others, only with with a low C breather key and the bell keys on one side (pioneered by Selmer). They play in tune and their medium bore makes them very flexible. Put on a killer mouthpiece and one can play modern styles.
 

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I actually work at the library, and during some free time I just decided to search the Post-Dispatch records for anything they might have printed relating to Rudy Wiedoeft; St. Louis had a lot of famous musical personalities pass through back in the day, so I thought maybe there might have been mention of a performance. Most of what I found were ads for records, but there was also a mention of the 1937 stabbing incident and also a touching obituary. I'm thinking about checking a few external databases next; now that I know he played a Rudy model in St. Louis, I'd love to know if he used it anywhere else!

The University of South Dakota? I know they have a pretty impressive museum centered around music, so it's not too surprising that the records ended up there. It seems I'd have to go there in person and make an appointment to see them, so I guess have another reason to want to visit! (The first reason was the two Couesnon Saxies they have in their collection...)
Great research!!
Well as somebody who works in a library you may possibly be granted access to the entire archive. How unbelievably cool that would be!
My memory fails me but I do believe I read something that Rudy’s life did not fare well. You have the dates for the Ambassador Theater. It would be interesting to see if there are any pictures or footage from that event. Does the Ambassador Theater still exist?


Great find. It actually NEVER made sense to me that Rudy would have had an endorsement contract with Holton, and even acted as a consultant on design of a new model....and NEVER have publicly played the instrument.

A lotta Holton naysayers out there on the internet who waste no opportunity to belittle their saxes.

Glad you are here, Saxie 24 !!!!
Isn’t that the truth!
+10

Bruce it only takes one public example paid for or not. The holy grail, a picture of this on stage to debunk the myth. Just imagine scoring some footage!
 

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Whatever fame the Rudy Weidoft model saxophone got publicly, it did not fare so well among some of those in the repair trade. This quote is from the Encyclopedia of Band Instrument Repair by Frederick Kirshner published in 1962 (often misnamed the Eric Brand Repair Manual).

If ever there were changes made on saxophones, the Holton Company made them. What would normally seem to be changes for the better made this saxophone in the past seem like a farce. The high Eb trill key put out by the Holton Company with the advent of
their Rudy Weidoft Model was a museum piece. Their attempt of clarification of the middle D by the insertion of the C auxiliary tone hole was, without question, the worst key arrangement that could possibly be conceived by the minds of men.
Their G# trill lever was, without any doubt, one of the biggest mistakes ever made by any saxophone company. The insertion of an extremely long rod to hold the Eb trill lever and the high E key was undoubtedly a horrible mistake in saxophone planning.

However, the more recent Holton instrument, although it cannot be considered among the finest in the professional field, has made such fine improvements that it ranges as one of the top instruments for the amateur student lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Great research!!
Well as somebody who works in a library you may possibly be granted access to the entire archive. How unbelievably cool that would be!
My memory fails me but I do believe I read something that Rudy’s life did not fare well. You have the dates for the Ambassador Theater. It would be interesting to see if there are any pictures or footage from that event. Does the Ambassador Theater still exist?
My job isn't overly fancy; I work the desk in the audio/visual department and handle occasional reference questions. I'm hoping to have my library degree some time in the next decade, though. Sadly, it looks like the museum is closed for renovations. I'll have to wait two years before I can go! :(

Poor Rudy's life really went downhill after the Depression hit. The Ambassador was demolished in 1996. The official statement was that the Mercantile Bank next door lacked the appropriate entrance for their state-of-the-art building, but anyone who's seen their entrance on nearby Washington Avenue knows that's a lot of bunk; it's more likely they didn't want to compete with the Ambassador for sheer building size. It had been closed for around two decades by that point, but it was still unbelievably beautiful inside and out. St. Louis has a nasty habit of destroying its own history; it's enough to make any historian or architecture lover cry. Look up some pictures of the Ambassador, and you'll see what I mean.

As to whether or not there are any pictures of Rudy performing at the Ambassador, if this WAS an event sponsored by Holton, there might be a photograph of it in the archives, but since the museum is closed... :(
 

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My job isn't overly fancy; I work the desk in the audio/visual department and handle occasional reference questions. I'm hoping to have my library degree some time in the next decade, though. Sadly, it looks like the museum is closed for renovations. I'll have to wait two years before I can go! :(

Poor Rudy's life really went downhill after the Depression hit. The Ambassador was demolished in 1996. The official statement was that the Mercantile Bank next door lacked the appropriate entrance for their state-of-the-art building, but anyone who's seen their entrance on nearby Washington Avenue knows that's a lot of bunk; it's more likely they didn't want to compete with the Ambassador for sheer building size. It had been closed for around two decades by that point, but it was still unbelievably beautiful inside and out. St. Louis has a nasty habit of destroying its own history; it's enough to make any historian or architecture lover cry. Look up some pictures of the Ambassador, and you'll see what I mean.

As to whether or not there are any pictures of Rudy performing at the Ambassador, if this WAS an event sponsored by Holton, there might be a photograph of it in the archives, but since the museum is closed... :(
You get my vote as most qualified for the task. You work in a library. You’re studying to be a librarian. And you have an interest in music and musical instruments. Two years will go quick!

The ambassador theater was quite a beautiful venue. Very reminiscent of the buildings in Los Angeles. You could put the Ambassador in the same class as the Pantages here. Interesting, a Wurlitzer. I had the pleasure of hearing one play a few weeks ago with the LA Philharmonic. Bummer it’s all gone.


I stumbled across this article. Nothing exceptionally new. One blurb worth mentioning. article starts on page 15.

April 17, 1926 Aeolian Hall concert N.Y. This event was broadcast by three radio stations.
http://basinstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Saxophones-in-Early-Jazz.pdf
 

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…I have about 80 recorded sides by Rudy from the late teens-late 20s and have not heard anything that does not sound like a C melody.
Are you saying that all of Rudy's records were made using a C-melody and that he never recorded with an alto sax?



…Holton finished up production of the Rudys and must have voided their contract with him, as the last Rudys do not have his name on them.…
Couldn't his contract have simply expired on a certain date without having to be "voided"?
 

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Myth or truth ? Did Frank Holton and Rudy have a disagreement over Frank not keeping up on the endorsement payments?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Rudy definitely did some recordings with alto, according to the files of the Victor label, though apparently they were so few that they felt they had to make a note of it; that was in 1920, though, so it's hard to say for certain if he did any others after that. I've heard a recording of Sax-o-Phun that he did with George Olsen, however, that sounds an awful lot like it was performed on alto. (It's also very hard not to smile when listening to it.) I think Rudy himself also mentioned that he played alto and soprano in addition to C-melody (it was in one of his articles for either Selmer or Holton).

As to why the split with Holton, it's hard to say for certain. Rudy endorsed a lot of saxophones during his career. He played a Buescher in the early '20s, wrote articles for Selmer in the mid '20s, and then endorsed Holton in the late '20s. It's possible that the license expired naturally, but there's also the sad fact that Rudy's popularity was on the wane. As early as 1927 Selmer was promoting someone else as the world's best and most popular saxophonist, and didn't even include him in their 1934 Hall of Fame (though they included Rudy Vallée...). By the time Holton dropped him, he had been effectively supplanted by Vallée's generation.

...Of course, this is all supposition for the time being. I'd better start budgeting for a very lengthy vacation in a couple of years...
 

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:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

Three Cheers for Saxie24!!

I will check at our library around the same date. If we all look at local papers, maybe we can piece together the story of this tour!
 
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