Thanks for visiting this site about the West Texas Jazz Party and a documentary project celebrating its rich history.

This playlist includes three videos featuring the late Bucky Pizzarelli, two videos from a Houston Person Jazz Dance at the West Texas Jazz Party in 2016 and one tribute to the drummer Joe Ascione. The first video of Bucky is also from the 2016 jazz party. Bucky had suffered a stroke the previous year, and he was not expected to perform.
A Tribute program to Joe Ascione – One of Two
A Second Tribute program to Joe Ascione – Two of Two

The great trombonist, pianist, arranger and composer George Masso died in 2019. This is a fine example of both his playing with his friend Dan Barrett and the camaraderie always present at the West Texas Jazz Society parties in West Texas. I forgot to thank Jon-Erik Kellso who is the reason I learned of George’s passing. As you can hear from the banter between Dan and George, theirs was a mutual admiration society. George played events in West Texas from as early as 1981 through 2007 if not later. I have just added a session with Becky Kilgore, Joel Forbes & Eddie Erickson where George sits in for his friend Dan Barrett.

He played the trombone until 2012 – when he was 85. He died just short of 93. If you watch the video throughout you can read a little about George. I wish I had known him personally. I know he is missed already.

A 2007 recording from the digital magic of Al White, featuring Becky Kilgore with special guest George Masso playing trombone and her associates Eddie Erickson, guitar and Joel Forbes, bass. Al’s notes from the session list the songs as Then I’ll Be Happy, East of the Sun, If I Were a Rich Man, I Thought About You, I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen (I think). See notes below about Al White’s handwriting. I have almost mastered the hieroglyphics but it is always open to interpretation.

Al White took notes from the sessions at every jazz party he attended in Odessa (and later in Midland after his retirement as a Cotton broker). He also kept notes at parties around the world. The set above is at the bottom of the page shown here in Al’s inimitable handwriting. After five years of reading his handwriting, I almost know all the abbreviations. For example, RAFF is Ralph Sutton and JAKE is Jake Hanna (he writes the E like an R, and many times it appears as JAKR). JOE is Joe Ascione. For nearly 20 years, the only two drummers were likely Jake Hanna or Joe Ascione. JORL is Joel Forbes. HARRY is Harry Allen. PEPS is Ken Peplowski and EDDIE is Eddie Erickson. Some of the others are easy – MILT is always Milt Hinton, and it was so for 28 years at the parties in Odessa and Midland. For even longer, JACK was Jack Lesberg. Both the bassists attended nearly every year, although HAG (Bob Haggart) was always welcome.

A complete session from the Odessa Jazz Party recorded May 20, 1994. The songs are June Night, Button Up Your Overcoat & Mood Indigo as played by Dan Barrett, George Masso, Ed Polcer, Harry Allen, Jack Lesberg, Bucky Pizzarelli, Jake Hanna and Ralph Sutton. Recorded in Odessa, Texas. Button Up is a feature for George and Dan.
  • George Masso at the Midland Jazz Classic in Midland, Texas in 1988
A short video tribute to George Masso with information about his life. He died in late October at the age of 92. The music is “Button Up Your Overcoat” from the complete session audio posted above.