Dick Larimer remembers

August 11, 1994 phone interview with Dick Larimer who played music with Ed when they were growing up….

My interview questions are in italics as is other information brought to the interview.


Ed played with Glen Miller, Tex Benecke… Played with Teddy Jeffer­son too.  Was well know locally in Sacto.

Ask Dick about Phil Harris?

Ed stood in with Beneke.  Studied under Safransky — played under Miller, I think.  Better know bass players.

Dick Larimer:

“Ed played with Ted Jefferson and his group at MO Mo & Zansibarr — both clubs are gone now….  Jefferson, was young colored around 1948-49…   combo 3-6 pieces…   Ed was only white guy in his band…  Ed could play trombone but best at bass vile…

Ed had calluses…   I remark in conversation…

“Sounds like Ed.. He’d be the type to build calluses.

“Del Paso Hts.  It was an era in Sacto when we went to high school. it was completely white.  It began going black and now is completely black.  Worked on Chicken ranch…. Went with Joyce. went sister Elaine 47-49…

“I was a musician.  Enjoyed being with musicians, with Ed….

“He and I separated after awhile.

“He worked for father in law as ranch hand on chicken ranch.  Mr. Nash in Rio Linda one of better chicken farms in Sacramento area.  4-5,000 laying hens….  raised eggs for hatchers and new laid eggs.

“Think could’ve been falling out between family and Ed.

“Sacto Junior, 9-10 — 46-47 thru 49-50 and went elsewhere

Born musician but learned to play the bass from well know, world renowned bass player Ed  Safranski.  — Very well know in 40-50’s.??

“Ed had bar in West Sacto.  Remodeled building himself in West Sacto.  It was called  “Big Ed’s.  Partners with General Pease, General of National Guard, in 50’s.  General of National Guard.???

“Bill Rase and he played together in high school. Bill Rase is band leader here in Sacto.

Bill went to high school with Ed.???

“Rase Still has band in Sacto, played at our 45th

Bill Rase went to Sacto High…

Don’t remember if Ed played with Rase.

Did Ed do some recording of Miller and Beneke, I ask.


(When Beneeky was in the area..

When I was going to high school.

While in service didn’t….)

Money didn’t phase him — right?   I retold the story of Ed saying he would have left politics if  political opponents  had offered him his ‘own 24 piece band ‘ …???

“Loved music.. nothing more dear to him than music.  Completely taken aback when he went to political end..  because he had never been that way.  Loved his music…. He never talked politics….

“His political interests had to come on at a different era… after I ran with him in 49-50 era…

Swing music… Could they dance to it?  

“Yes, they could…

Ed had a Black beat — He had the ability to play the type or beat of music of the black musician.  That’s very true..

Blacks were more know for the  Blues era….   more Black….  Jazz was prior

“It was tougher to make it in jazz on west coast — God yes….NY and New Orleans were where most of it came from and where it was done for many years..

“Ed did express it would be tough to make it as a musician.  had to find openings into bands.  Trying.

Ed expressed he wanted to make it as musi­cian .  He was trying but it was tough…Ed was, “Excellent, fantastic, one of best I’ve ever know,  as far as the beat of the music…”

How was Ed as a Showman? 

“Ed was very good, very good.. He had an ability to express himself and do the job very well…”….

Ed seemed to have this ability to take over a crowd

“Dick Larimer laughs, ‘I know that, I know that…’

“He had comical interpretations he put to things… put a mike in front of him and he’d spill out things that would attract the attention of audience.

“He had the ability to take over, when discussing items with various people,  he always lead the conversation…. he was very good at that…”

“He was the best bass man I’ve ever know. I’ve see a lot of them..  I played with the philharmonic and the symphony here in Sacramento I’ve watched many orchestras throughout the west coast … Ed was probably one of the… if not ‘the’ best bass man I’ve ever known…..

“He was Taught by Safranski , who was probably the best, and I can’t say he was any less than him…  Seen Miller, Dorsey and James — today not good one out there…. any that was there at that point….

He was type of guy that had the ability to pick up a bass and start a beat and everything started going in him and he started going… that’s why they said he had the black beat… At that point, you didn’t see whites and blacks mixing that well.

“Music was his life for a long, long time.

Why did music quit being his life?

“Could never give you that….  Never understand why he left music… he could’ve gone to the top with his music had he kept up with it…

When Ed was small…?

 “Ed was leader of Oak Park Gang and the  C street Gang were the two gangs in Sacto ???

“Family they sent him away at 14 to Canyonville Bible Academy in Oregon, know him then?.

MM — liberty ships?  cross Pacific?  Boiler room??

“After Merchant Marine went back on road awhile.  Then joined army-Air Corps.  Then when he left the Army he went back on the road again.  All of this by the time he was 20. .. Played in Army band .  When he left army went back on road again by the time he was 20.

Girls take to him?

“He tied in with Joyce and there wasn’t any fooling around.  Did a lot of it together — rather play than dance.

Did he ever share with you what he considered as being the most important education or formative foundation that prepared him for his approach to life?

“Extremely private person in many ways.  Had to know him from different sides to understand him….  Knew him from late 40’s-to 50’s when we working with chicken ranches…

“Ed was an extremely private person in many ways.  Had to know Ed from different sides to really understand him.  The only sides I really ever knew him from was the growing up era from 40’s and 50’s where were we working with the chicken ranches and so forth…

“We had a good understanding and a good hang out, if you can under­stand that…”

“I studied violin in Sacto for 14 years with …

“At time I was studying to be a vet…  Good understanding and good hang out… Enjoyed music because I had studied music for 14 years… Violin in Sacto for 14 years…  at various times I played with the Philharmonic — 3years.   Our backgrounds pulled us together…

“Enjoyed sitting in houses listening to music because we enjoyed good music…  En­joyed listening, being, watching the group..

“Played enough to understand, traveling with the groups…  jefferson’s band — they were a group [Teddy Jefferson’s groups — completely different than any I had known.. They were into drugs —- Ed did not do, marijuana, heroine.. Ed just enjoyed the good music.  Something that you y have to … when you are in this era… enjoyed listening… to the group.. but didn’t do any of the drug stuff.

Remembering movie… Bilie Holliday????

“You saw drugs etc., in background with these groups, just because Ed was never one to use drugs,,, was not heavy drinker…

You saw that with this group… Never part of that drug scene…  Not heavy drinker..

Ed was always in control.. Never out of control…. Never with alcohol, never did drugs as far as I knew…

What were your earliest memories of Ed and Joyce being politi­cally active?  Elaborate.

“Do remember some politically  active..

But can’t remember what specifics politics were on it..  Always opinionated. But can’t tell you what  they were and Joyce was too, believe me, she could be opinionated.

Did you contribute to ED and Joyce’s political activities? 

“Noticed from news that they were in politics and contributed a few dollars…


Rough notes

George Sedlock, Laverne CA

Joyce’s oldest sister Virginia, George husband ran around together at that period..

What were your most enjoyable experiences together? 

Which were least enjoyable?

Worked for brickyard in Sacto… built his house.. In charge of the ovens… Cooking the bricks of night.  Had to haul loads home at night… Took from factory  — Ed’s house in Rio Linda 24 Dodge.. quite elderly..

Wing Tom was a black guy? 


Lead bands?  His?

J claimed he had ‘black music beat’?

Considered “swing Music”?

Best instruments?

Tough to make it on west coast?

  1. Did you thinkEd was involved in something important or was the PL work they did a waste of time?

comical interpretations put a mike in front of him and he’d spell out things that would attract the attention of audience

4724 Hixosn Circle, Sacto 95841

Anecdotes…  stories that define him?


Can’t stop for causalities,,, see that?

Liberty ships — hazardous… know what ships.. Did he cross Atlantic or pacific many times?

Give you a feel for his politics?  Show politics in any way?



your politics different?

Ed’s politics get you more interested in politics or kind of turn you against politics because of pressure on family… whatever?

played with philharmonic

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