John Hubbard Beecher

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This article is about John Beecher, the bandleader. For John Beecher, the poet, see John Beecher.

John Hubbard Beecher, also known as Little John Beecher, (b. February 8, 1927, Marshalltown, IA; d. August 6, 1987, Muscogee County, GA) was an American bandleader, jazz trumpeter and valve trombonist, and a singer of novelty songs. His band, "Little John Beecher and his Orchestra," was active throughout the 1950s, and was booked by National Orchestra Service of Omaha, Nebraska. Before forming his own band, he played trumpet with Lee Williams.


  • Lee Williams Orchestra
  • Little John Beecher and His Orchestra — Beecher founded and served as its bandleader throughout the 1950s. The orchestra was a nonet plus a featured vocalist territory band. Beecher was a large man, weighing 300 pounds in 1955. He promoted the catchphrase "THE BAND with the big front."[1] Beecher booked its gigs through the National Orchestra Service ("NOS"), a territory band agency based out of Omaha, Nebraska. Royce Stoenner, who had been an executive at NOS, left the agency in 1959 to become a partner with the Dave Brumitt Agency, a territory band booking agency in Atlanta. John Beecher followed Stoenner to Georgia and started working through his agency there. Shortly thereafter in 1959, the band ended.
  • The Cavaliers Orchestra — Jimmy Fuller founded this group in 1946 and served as bandleader until 1976. Having played trumpet with the Cavaliers since 1973, John Beecher became its second bandleader in the spring of 1976. The Orchestra, based in Columbus, GA, is still in existence today.

Original compositions[edit]

  • Mischa Fischa, by Dirk Fischer, nonet, cool jazz, up-tempo (1958) (originally composed by Fischer for the Little John Beecher Orchestra)
  • Cinoton, by Dirk Fischer nonet (1959) (originally composed by Fischer for the Little John Beecher Orchestra)
Mischa Fischa and Cinoton are recorded on the album, Coming Of Age, by the Dirk Fischer and George Stone Orchestra on Seabreeze Records (2011)
  • Coffee-Flavored Kisses, by Dirk Fischer; The 1966 hit song by The Monkees, Last Train to Clarksville, contained the phrase, "Coffee-flavored kisses." The line "Coffee-Flavored Kisses" was the title and first line of a song earlier written (in the 1950s) by Dirk Fischer, brother of Clare Fischer. Fischer wrote it for Little John Beecher's Orchestra while he was a member. "Coffee-Flavored Kisses" is constructed over the chord changes of "Take the A Train." The band played it almost every night. In the mid to late 1950s, the orchestra played it at nearly every appearance. It was sung by a Kansas City jazz singer named Betty Jordan (aka Betty Hansen).

Family history[edit]

John Hubbard Beecher was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, to George August Beecher and Grace E. Beecher (née Hubbard). He married Dorothy Ann Bigham (aka Dottie) (b. November 18, 1929 - d. November 3, 2007). The Beechers had two sons, Paul Hubbard Beecher and George Ferris Beecher, and a daughter, Laurie Ann Beecher, all of Atlanta.

Music library[edit]

John donated his music library to Auburn University.

Former members of John Beecher's Orchestra[edit]

  • 1959–1960 – Travis Wayne Jenkins, tenor sax (b. 23 May 1939 Hockley County, Texas; d. 11 Jan 2004 Bangkok, Thailand)[2][3]
  • 1950s – Betty Jordan, vocals ("Jordan" was a stage name), aka Betty Hanson (married to Don Hanson)
  • Stewart "Dirk" Fischer
  • Richard Vaughn Busey, aka "Dick Busey" (tenor sax) (b. 1931)
  • Russ Long (piano) (b. Russell V. Longstreth 9 Mar 1939; d. 31 Dec 2006)[4][5]
  • Robert Fisher
  • Mel (Oscar) Ross Sax
  • Carl Greene horn
  • Johnny Morre
  • Larry Brown

• Bill Porter - drums 1954

See also[edit]


External links[edit]