100 Palm Street, Marco
If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you don’t have to go that far to hear the greatest live Dixieland music this side of the Mississippi. Just head over to the Olde Marco Inn on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. and have the time of your life!
Called the Olde Marco Inn Jazz All Stars, the band consists of Bobby Gideons on the piano and originator of the group; Bob Leary, banjo; Don Nelson, trombone; Bob Schrader, Clarinet; Bill Pappineau, trumpet; and Bobby Snyder Jr., drums.
Each musician is exceptional. Leary announces each song and may give a little story about the origin of it.
Almost every song has a solo instrumentalist leading the song which the audience applauds every time for each one of the musicians.
The band plays all-time Dixieland favorites, such as “Bourbon Street Parade,” “Is It True What They Say About Dixie,” “Rum Dum” — a classic that was originally called “The Original One Step”— “Gas Heat Blues” with the technical feature being the lope, “St. Louis Woman,” “St. Louis Blues,” another classic called “New Orleans Blues,” and so many more.
It’s an exhilarating show that will either have you dancing, clapping in rhythm with the music, or tapping your fingers or feet.
Louie Armstrong’s “Shine,” is a very fast number and was very popular in the 1940s. It’s perfect for a dance we no longer unfortunately see, the Peabody. But the band played it beautifully.
When Pappineau plays and sings “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” the dance floor can get a little crowded. The band also plays a tune that brings out the “Umbrella Ladies.”
Originally started by one woman who made her own flashy umbrella; it has reached a point where faithful followers have made their own umbrellas and bring them to the shows. For the women who don’t have an umbrella, there are extras if they wish to join the parade. Each umbrella is unique, and the women march through the Inn and spin their umbrellas to the music.
The musicians have an incredible history that goes back many years. This band was originated several years ago by Bobby Gideons, a legend on Marco Island. When he plays the piano, his fingers fly over the keys with his right hand while playing bass on a separate keyboard with his left hand that sounds like the accompaniment of a bass fiddle. He is an awesome musician.
He started playing the piano by ear when he was four years old.
“When I got to high school, I needed to learn to read music, and played the glockenspiel for three years. I came to the Olde Marco Inn 35 years ago with Marion Blomeier, originally for two weeks and never left,”
Gideons started at the Marco Lodge in 1982. He told how other famous personalities came to Marco Island: Jebry from California; Bob Snyder Sr. from Mackinaw; two years later Leary from Orlando, and Pappineau from Indiana.
“The group just formed down here. We started having Sunday afternoon jam sessions that turned into Tuesday nights. Then there was Bob Snyder’s Deck, and there’s just a lot of history here,” Gideons said.
Leary has been playing the banjo with Gideons on and off for several years, he said.
“We played at the Deck, and when he came back over here, he brought me along with him. We do the Dueling Pianjos at Erin’s Isle,” Leary said. His rendition of “Deliverance” shows his exceptional talent.
Two years ago, he had a gig in Tahiti. He recently booked a one-night stand in Amelia Island with a Dixieland trio.
“I just got a call for a one-nighter in Israel on June 14. They are flying the Dixieland group I’ll be with for one night and flying us back home. Slowly I’m heading west. I’m two-thirds along the way to playing around the world,” he
“Dixieland is a small world. We all know each other. Somebody latches on to something and they say ‘put a band together’ and you find the best guys you can. I’m on countless CDs just playing in the rhythm section. I’m knocking on wood so hard my fingers hurt. But it is fun playing in odd ball one-nighters in different places,” Leary concluded.
Pappineau and Gideons go back to 1982 where they played at the Lodge and later at the Quality Inn in Naples, Pappineau said.
“The group has been together during season one or two nights a week for about the last five years. In addition to the trumpet, I also play the cornet, valve trombone, flugle horn, and a little piano, not necessarily in public,” he jokingly said. “I’ve been playing the horn for 63 years. I’m glad I can still do that. I’ve had a few setbacks in my life that wouldn’t be good for trumpet players like when I had my lung taken out. There are certain things I can’t do, but I keep persevering.” His expertise in playing the horn can send tingles up your spine.
Nelson is part of a network of musicians. He claims to be the old man of the group. He said he’s been playing the trombone since he was a kid.
“I’ve arranged music mostly but have been on the road a few hundred thousand miles. A journeyman musician for most of my life, I, too, was in Bob Snyder’s Big Band at the Deck and did a few special tours in Mackinaw Island,” Nelson commented. He also taught music, and is certainly an asset to the group. “There’s an old saying. ‘Old musicians never die. They just de-compose.’ A lot of musicians have lived to be in their 90s and 100s because music keeps them young. My recommendation to anyone who wants to stay young is to either take up music or buy a dog. That works, too.”
According to Bob Schrader, he’s playing the clarinet and mostly Dixieland music since 1946 right after the war.
“I played for 11 years on the road with festivals, jazz clubs, and in New York. I saw Gideons in festivals and we met. We started a trio with Bob Leary,” Schrader stated.
Although semi-retired, he also plays Dixieland at The Coconuts in Ft. Myers and Fisherman’s Village. He said he likes to stay busy. He certainly plays a sweet clarinet.
Bobby Snyder Jr. has been playing the drums since he was 14 years old. He said he didn’t have much training except for watching the exceptional drummers his father, Bob Snyder Sr., had.
“You can pick up so much more by watching the pros,” Snyder Jr. said. He’s been with Gideon for several years and also does private parties. Most of the time, he does live recordings with other artists. His drumming really rocks.
One patron couldn’t help but say Gideons is the reason she comes to Marco Island.
“This group is the best in the whole wide world. You can’t find this anywhere. I think Marco Island is very fortunate to get all this music together,” Brown commented.
A new musical program, “Island Music Under the Stars” will begin on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. on the patio. In addition, on Feb. 21, Gideons, Leary, and Snyder began a ’50s and ’60s show that will continue every Thursday night. According to Gideons, they will be performing the Ink Spots, the Beatles, and anyone you can think of from that era.
The Olde Marco Inn is located 100 Palm Street. Phone 394-3131 for reservations. Every Wednesday and Friday is happy hour. The Inn is closed on Mondays.