Sylvester Ahola has played the trumpet on 2,000 records and been part of fifty orchestras and jazz bands. This comprehensive study charts his role as one of the great musicians during a unique period in American musical culture-from the growth of jazz through the Depression to the development of commercial radio. After a classical training, Ahola's prolific recording career among the top bands of the age, in both America and England, was a tribute to the skill and mastery of his chosen instrument. His career as a first-rate studio musician found him equally at ease with classical trumpet solos, light orchestral music, popular dance band tunes, and in groups accompanying such great singers as Paul Robeson and Sophie Tucker. He was also responsible, in no small way, for establishing a style of "hot" jazz-flavored playing among emerging British dance bands. His, however, is a story of anonymity. This bibliography is intended to help restore his name to its proper place in both American and British musical history. The author recalls Ahola's incredible memory of events, anecdotes about musicians, band leaders, and recording studios, and a lifelong passion for amateur radio. With a comprehensive discography of all his known recordings and many photographs.
Richard Hill (BA (Hons.), fine arts, Brighton College of Art; Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Manchester) is Director of Studies for Creative and Aesthetic Subjects, Stanway School, Colchester, Essex England; he is also a studio painter. He first became aware of Sylvester Ahola when he began to collect jazz and dance band records made in England between 1928 and 1931, when Ahola played the trumpet at the Savoy Hotel, and later at the May Fair Hotel in London. Hill has made regular visits to Ahola's home in Gloucester, MA for the past several years.