Here is something special that a member of the Bass Sax Co-op discovered a few weeks ago. This marching saxophone band from 1930s England were called the Kitkat Rascals.
The description of the band’s medley goes like this:
Marching saxophone band play “a medley of well-known numbers”. They band march about set in a light-hearted manner. All the musicians are obviously white but wear ‘black-face’ makeup. They all wear bell boy style uniforms.
Modern viewers may find black-face make up racist.
From British Pathe
The KITKAT RASCALS (issue title – GOING PLACES) 1937 video is hosted on the British Pathe website. The audio quality of the video is amazing. It has obviously been remastered.
Another member of the Bass Sax Co-op knew of the group, and was able to provide the following biography of the Kitkat Rascals:
To those with an interest,
This is what I know regarding the Kit Kat Saxophone Rascals.
The Six Brown Brothers left Australia after a Tivoli tour March 12 1925, Tivoli management tried to get them back in September 1926 but asking price was 300 pounds a week and not financially viable for Tivoli.
Tom Katz and His Saxophone Band were formed in 1927 by the leader of the Sydney Tivoli Orchestra and saxophonist Sam Babicci, but where the Brown Brothers only had Tom Brown appearing in black face the Tom Katz band all used blackface in their act, at least for the first few years of it’s life.
Sam Babicci lead the band on alto, Harry O’Brien on 2nd alto, Bill Saddler and Ted Case on tenor, Sonny Greatz on baritone and Jock Thompson on bass. (I once owned Jock’s 1927 Buescher bass)
Babicci left the group and took the rights to the name, the others reformed under the name Sid Sammons Saxophone Six, but later reverted to the former name, Tom Katz and His Saxophone Band. The personnel was now, Ted Case soprano and leader, Eric Frew alto, Jim Hearne and Frank Lundy tenor, Sonny Greatz baritone and Jock Thompson bass.
In 1934 the group left for England and started broadcasting over the BBC and in the next couple of years they were to appear at over 84 theatres. Tours on the European continent were also undertaken.
In 1936 the band broke up, with Thompson and Case forming the Tom Katz Saxophone Six with four English musicians. The other four, Frew, Hearne, Lundy and Greatz went on to form their own band;
The Kit Kat Saxophone Rascals
When World War II broke out, Frew, Lundy and Hearne all enlisted in the RAF in 1940.
I am always amazed at the wealth of knowledge the members of Bass Sax Co-op have. The depth and breadth of their experience is astounding.
© 2009, Helen. All rights reserved.