Interview with Byron Romanowitz, September 10, 2014

Project: Men Of Note Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this interview Byron Romanowitz talks about his family's early influence on his interest and ability in music, bands he played with in his younger days, and discusses why he joined the musicians' union. Romanowitz talks about joining the Blue and White Band, playing in jam sessions, and playing in bars. He talks about why being young never intimated him when playing in bands. Romanowitz talks about when bands began to integrate and how the musicians felt about it. Romanowitz tells the story of why he quit playing music for 16 years due to an incident while playing at Idle Hour Country Club, and how he was convinced to begin playing again by joining the Men of Note.

Romanowitz talks about his first impressions of the Men of Note when he joined. He talks about some of the members and their abilities, choosing a new leader, and how the band was affected when members were forced to join the musicians' union. Romanowitz talks about the members of the Men of Note who were also jazz players. He talks about how these players influenced the band. Romanowitz talks about some of the singers he has worked with and their abilities. Romanowitz discusses how the Men of Note impacted Lexington and was the longest continually playing band in town. He talks about the different types of music the band played and gives his opinion on various musicians. Romanowitz talks about the band he created after his retirement, Jazzberry Jam.

Romanowitz talks about the resurgence in popularity of big band music in the 1990s. He talks about what he sees as the future of jazz, which he believes will be mainly in the world of academia due to the cost of hiring big bands. Romanowitz discusses his opinions on the issue of race in jazz and the emphasis on the social issues related to jazz while often ignoring the music itself. He discusses his opinions of several documentaries about jazz.

Romanowitz tells the story of why jazz music was banned on the University of Kentucky campus after a band he was part of was photographed playing in a bar off campus.

Interview Accession

2015oh271_men001

Interviewee Name

Byron F. Romanowitz

Interviewer Name

Richard Domek

Gail Kennedy

Interview Date

2014-09-10

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Romanowitz, Byron F. Interview by Richard Domek. 10 Sep. 2014. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Romanowitz, B.F. (2014, September 10). Interview by R. Domek. Men Of Note Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Romanowitz, Byron F., interview by Richard Domek. September 10, 2014, Men Of Note Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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