"Dad was away in the military and Mother wanted to find something to keep me busy so she bought me an old, used set of drums," recalled Dick Stimson of his teen years in the 1940s. "Every time she would go out I would get the record player on full blast, and I just learned to play the drums that way."
Stimson joined a Dixieland band at Wesleyan University, and spent time during his college years visiting jazz clubs around the country. One night at Eddie Condon's club in New York he followed Gene Schroeder down into the beer cellar, where the late pianist often wrote music among the kegs, and his interest was rewarded with an autographed photo of the band. Later, in the Navy, Stimson checked out traditional jazz bands in ports around the world from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Yokohama to Monaco. Now an insurance salesman by day, he spends evenings lending an ear to the sounds of local bands.
Stimson's Pontchartrain Causeway New Orleans Jazz Band will be one of 15 from the Washington-Baltimore area playing at the 13th Annual Potomac River Jazz Club Picnic Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., at Blobs Park in Jessup, Md. In case of rain the bash will take place inside the park's covered pavilion.