WANT TO GO?
The Southern Fried Jazz Band
Presented by Charleston Community Music Association
WHERE: Charleston Municipal Auditorium
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Adults $35, full-time college students $10, youth (under 18) $5
NOTE: Those who show their concert ticket at Fifth Quarter can receive a Cajun-style platter for $8.99, with a bowl of jambalaya for an additional $1.99.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Trombone player Paul O'Connor has been playing trombone a very long time. Even he's a little amazed at how long.
Speaking over the phone from his home in Florida, the 85-year-old Charleston native said he played his first paying gig the weekend after Thanksgiving in 1941.
"Two weeks before Pearl Harbor," he said. "I was 14."
O'Connor, who returns to Charleston this weekend to perform on Sunday with the Southern Fried Jazz Band at the Municipal Auditorium, said he remembers that first show.
"I played with the Bill Garten Band," he said. "We played the West Side Women's Club."
O'Connor grew up on the West Side. The old home place, as he called it, was a house past Florida Street on Sixth Avenue.
"Charleston was a great place to grow up," he said.
O'Connor started playing trombone in junior high and kept up with it through high school. He played in the high school band and also around town. After he graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 1944, he hit the road.
"I played with several of the name bands," O'Connor said. "I played with Charlie Spivak, Hal McIntyre, Bobby Sherwood and Jimmy Dorsey -- big bands in the 1940s."