John Hubbard Beecher

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John Hubbard Beecher, also known as Little John Beecher (8 February 1927, Marshalltown, Iowa – 6 August 1987, Muscogee County, Georgia) 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.[1] 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."[2] Beecher booked his gigs through the National Orchestra Service ("NOS"), a territory band agency based out of Omaha, Nebraska.[3][4] 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[5] — 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, Georgia, 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" were recorded for the album Coming of Age by the Dirk Fischer and George Stone Orchestra on Seabreeze Records[6] (2011).
  • "Coffee-Flavored Kisses," by Dirk Fischer; The 1966 hit song by The Monkees, "Last Train to Clarksville," contained the phrase "coffee-flavored kisses." This 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) (18 November 1929 – 3 November 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]

Beecher donated his music library to Auburn University.

Former members of John Beecher's Orchestra[edit]

  • 1959–1960: Travis Wayne Jenkins, tenor sax (23 May 1939 Hockley County, Texas – 11 Jan 2004 Bangkok, Thailand)[7][8]
  • 1950s: Betty Jordan, vocals ("Jordan" was a stage name), aka Betty Hanson (married to Don Hanson)
  • Stewart "Dirk" Fischer
  • Richard "Dick" Vaughn Busey, tenor sax (born 1931)
  • Russ Long, piano (né Russell V. Longstreth 9 Mar 1939 – 31 Dec 2006)[9][10]
  • Robert Fisher
  • Mel (Oscar) Ross, sax
  • Carl Greene, horn
  • Johnny Morre
  • Larry Brown
  • Robert Hampson, baritone sax
  • 1954: Bill Porter, drums

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "From Skylon Ballroom to Oscar's Palladium: Dancing in Nebraska, 1948–1957," Nebraska History, by Evelyn Kay Dalstrom (born 1942) & Harl A. Dalstrom, PhD (born 1936), Nebraska State Historical Society, Vol. 65 (1984), pps. 366–386; ISSN 0028-1859
  2. ^ "Annual Ball Wednesday," Aberdeen-American News, April 10, 1955, col. 3, pg. 8,
  3. ^ America's Music Makers: Big Bands & Ballrooms 1912–2011, by John Behrens, Authorhouse (2011), pps. 76–77; OCLC 707608654
  4. ^ "Merge Firms of NOS, MMS in Ork Field," Billboard, February 13, 1954, pg. 19
  5. ^ The Cavaliers Orchestra
  6. ^ Seabreeze Records
  7. ^ Obituary: "Travis Jenkins," The Kansas City Star January 21, 2004, pg. B3
  8. ^ Autobiography — "Profile: Travis Jenkins," Jam (magazine), published by the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Inc., February 2000; OCLC 44788786
  9. ^ "A Biography of Russ Long," by Gary Don Sivils (1934– ), Jam (magazine), published by the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Inc., October 2006; OCLC 44788786
  10. ^ "KC Jazz Legend Russ Long Feted at Workshop," by Chuck Berg, The Topeka Capital-Journal, January 16, 2011; OCLC 85482432

External links[edit]

Website maintained by Thomas Meyer, Roubaix, France