Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Archie "Stomp" Gordon, pianist, killa' dilla'

“Whomp, bebop, boom, bam! I’m a killa’ dilla’, yes I am.” Archie “Stomp” Gordon announced himself to the world before he was even out of South High School. When he was thirteen, growing up on Barthman Avenue on Columbus’ tough Southside, he organized a group of teenagers into a little band. Drummer Jimmy Rogers told me that he didn’t have a set of drums at that age, but Marty Mellman did and they would ride the bus down Parsons Avenue to practice at Stomp’s home. Rusty Bryant was eleven and wanted to be in the band too, so Stomp told him to find a saxophone and he could join. Rusty said that within one week of getting his horn, he was gigging. Stomp got his moniker because during those rehearsals he would crank up the piano seat, kick off his shoes and socks and spend enough time plunking at the keyboard with his toes that he could pick out melodies to popular songs. Witnesses who followed Stomp around Columbus in the late 1940s and early ‘50s, said that the show was high energy, raucous and sexy. When Stomp hit the road, he played from coast to coast, Atlanta to Los Angeles, Virginia to Alaska. It was a little over three years later, Sunday, January 19, 1958, that Stomp was found dead in a doorway on Madison Avenue in New York City and he was interred in Columbus’ Greenlawn cemetery. Stomp recorded extensively from 1952 to 1956. Stomp Gordon, a killa’ dilla’ indeed. Arnett Howard

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