Enter Bill Hegamin and Jack Carter: The Beginning of their Asian Jazz Journeys

This precious article is the first record I've found that mentions both Jack Carter and William "Bill" Hegamin, who went on to perform in Shanghai at the Hotel Plaza from 1925 onward. It also indicates the early jazz circuit in Asia which even in the early 1920s encompassed Manila, Tokyo, Kobe, and Shanghai. I will be posting more later on pianist Bill Hegamin, who continued to perform in Shanghai until the 1940s.

An ad for the Little Club published in China Press on March 4 1927 featuring William Hegamin's Little Club Orchestra

An ad for the Little Club published in China Press on March 4 1927 featuring William Hegamin's Little Club Orchestra

Race Band Going Big in Manila

(The Pittsburgh Courier, May 9 1925)

NEW YORK, N. Y., May 7 (A. N. P.)—Early in 1923 the Manila Hotel in the far-off Philippines solicited the aid of Major Loving, then conductor of the Philippine Constabulary band, in obtaining from the U. S. Army an orchestra that would be a credit to the government operated hotel and a musical drawing card for the Far East. Through John R. Valler, of the U. S. A. Quartermaster’s office at Governor’s Island, his desires were conveyed to the Page. The business of assembling a musical unit that would meet the high standard required was entrusted to Prof. William Parker, who had just opened a booking office in New York, having moved from Columbus, 0., to the big town.

The group selected included Bailey W. Jackson, William O. Hegamin, Jack Carter, Clinton Moorman and Andrew F. Rosamond, who became the director of a group that not only doubled on instruments, but who were vocalists of no mean ability. They left New York with transportation advanced on July 12, 1923, to fill a year’s contract. En route they played at the Imperial hotel and the Grand hotel, both in Tokyo, at the Oriental hotel in Kobe, Japan, and at the Hong Kong hotel In Shanghai, China. Arriving in Manila on August 22, they were billed as “The Negro Musical Kings from Broadway” and so successful were they that the engagement continues to the present time.

In addition to their regular engagement they have played many special dates for the American Express Tourist department, the Far East Broadcasting Station, and have made several trips to play in Shanghai. After concluding the contract at Manila, the band will return to New York playing in India, Egypt and England en route. The present billing terms them “The Finest Orchestra in the Orient.”