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Big Band Story - Lee Castle's Wet Hat
(From a series called "Big Band Stories")
By Cosmo Campagnola
Copyright 2000 Cosmo Campagnola
A story about the writer's experiences while playing with Lee Castle and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

An incident that comes to mind from my travels during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s is as follows. I was on the road in Pennsylvania with Lee Castle and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and it was raining cats and dogs. Lee Castle got soaked from head to toe - including his hat, of course. Lee asked me where he should put his hat to dry, so I suggested the radiator. After the job, he put his hat on, and it felt very tight.
He said, " Cos, my head is swollen from playing. Let’s go to a doctor."
I said, "Lee, your head is not swollen. Your hat has shrunk because it was wet when you put it on the radiator to dry."
He replied, "Oh."
One night while playing, a couple asked me if we play be-bop. I said, "Lee, they want some be-bop." Lee pulled out a Dean Kincaide arrangement, which is Dixieland and the couple loved it!
Most of the bands did a lot of so called one nighters, which consist of 100 miles plus. This meant travelling after completing our night job, so we could be on time for the next night’s work. We travelled in cars or buses.