Throughout his career, Red Nichols and His Five Pennies were one of the most popular jazz bands playing New York City. Nichols, a cornettist, began playing with bands in the 1920s, and had a strong career going until the Great Depression, when he gave up music to work in the shipyards. It would not last, as soon music called him, and he once again picked up his career. He continued to play until his death. Here is a recording of Red and his band performing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," by writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body," a spiritual by John Steffe. The lyrics were originally written in 1861, a strident message against slavery that was dividing the nation. Later, it has become a song of patriotism, and in fact is no also known as the Marine Hymn.
Happy Memorial Day.