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Evelyn Bundy Band (c. 1926)

Formed in 1926, the Evelyn Bundy Band was one of the earliest and most influential local jazz ensembles to contribute to the Seattle, Washington jazz scene.  

Evelyn Bundy, who played piano, drums, saxophone, banjo, and occasionally sang, was born in Seattle into a musical family.  Encouraged by her father, Bundy took up piano and studied with Frank Waldron.  Bundy began performing professionally at the age of 13, with her mother accompanying her to most of her early performances.  At Garfield High School, Bundy formed the band the Garfield Ramblers with classmate and drummer Leonard Gayton.  In addition to Bundy and Gayton, the ensemble included brothers Wayne and Jimmy Adams on saxophones and trumpet, Creon Thomas on piano, drums, violin, and banjo, and occasionally Kenny Pernell on alto saxophone.  Attending gigs in a band members employers hearse, the Ramblers performed at high school and club dances and local black society events.  After Bundy graduated from high school the Garfield Ramblers changed their name to the Evelyn Bundy Band.

Without recordings of the Bundy band it is difficult to gather what, exactly, they sounded like.  Oral histories suggest, however, that the music was distinctly not of the Dixieland idiom. The two-beat Dixieland feel was replaced by a contemporary four-beat swing.  Seattle jazz of the period was not particularly bluesy, favoring intricate arrangements and strong melody, characteristics likely shared by the Evelyn Bundy Band.  Bundys son, Charles Taylor, Jr., who later emerged as a significant band leader in his own right, remembers his mothers music as stylistically comparable to that of Duke Ellingtons orchestra.  He also recalls Evelyn Bundy as a modern, two-handed pianist possessing a sophisticated touch.  

Performing in local nightclubs, the Evelyn Bundy Band contributed to the foundation of what would become a thriving and authentic black jazz scene centered at Jackson Street and Twelfth Avenue.  And in the 1930s, with husband Charles Taylor, Bundy hosted regular

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