June 23, 2003 by

Michael Hucko


Categories: Musicians

Revered jazz clarinetist Michael “Peanuts” Hucko died on Friday in Fort Worth. Cause of death was not released. He was 85.
Hucko performed with some of America’s greatest musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden. He was a featured player on the Lawrence Welk TV show and played lead alto saxophone and clarinet with Glenn Miller’s band during World War II.

7 Responses to Michael Hucko

  1. Carl G. Friedner

    I just received the word of Mr. Hucko’s death. I met him twice in Stockholm. The first time was in 1983, when he also gave a concert with a small combo with Peter Appleyard on vibes among others. It was outstanding and the Swedish Radio broadcast it live and recorded it. The second time was in 1994 when he was invited to play as a soloist with the Jan Sl

  2. Paula Tobin Horn

    Peanuts Hucko was married to my aunt
    Louise for many years. I remember when they
    were doing the Lawrence Welk show. They
    used to complain about what a prude he was.
    He used to make the dancers wear these
    horrible bloomers.
    My favorite memory of my uncle Peanuts was
    when he played at the Landing on the San
    Antonio riverwalk. He was truly amazing that
    night. I will never forget him.

  3. Mark Maniatt

    As we approach the 3rd anniversary of ‘Peanuts’passing on June 19th,I would like to pay my own short tribute to this very great musician.
    I first saw Peanuts play at a jazz club in my adopted home town of Leeds in northern England around spring 1975.I was 15 years of age at the time.This was a life changing experience and I floated out of the club a foot off of the ground!The man was quite simply unbelievable.I was stunned.A further thing I remember of that night was Peanuts standing by himself over one side of the room.I mentioned this to my dad,Chris and he said go over and speak to him.I said in reply that he would’nt want to speak to me,a kid and I let the moment pass me by.Why do I mention this.Well,quite simply because I was to become very friendly with the great man over the next 20 years or so during visits to various venues around Britain.I addition I should mention that I have performed all over the UK as a jazz drummer for nearly 30 years and had the huge honour of playing and touring many times with both Peanuts and his lovely wife,the great singer Louise Tobin.They were both never less than warm and friendly towards me,a young kid trying to gain experience and in effect my jazz/swing education from two people who had seen and done it all.No amount of money could buy you the feeling you had sat behind ‘Huck’when he decided to trash the joint with a portion of red hot ‘Stealin Apples’ or ‘Runnin Wild’.I remember playing a gig in Northern Ireland at Queens University,November 1991 when our bass player took ill(we managed without him that night.My bass drum nearly caught fire!!) and the audience would not let the band finish.We did as I remember five encore numbers before we could go!Pure magic.That was Peanuts for you.I have always maintained that aside from Shaw and Goodman no body came even close to Peanuts as far as Swing clarinet goes.However,I have heard respected jazz commentators point out that as a dixieland player he has no equal.For proof listen to any of his work with Condon or The Worlds Greatest Jazz Band or even Louis’ All Stars.His counterpoint playing behind the other musicians is as delicious as anything in the history of jazz music.And what about the beautiful Hucko tone.Who the hell ever played with such warmth.His playing reflected the man.You can’t fake it.
    A day hardly goes by when I dont play some of my dear friends music and think about the great man and the gigs we played.Life will never be the same.It only remains for those of us who loved both the man and his music to keep his wonderful legacy alive.
    Until we meet up again in the great jazz club in the sky,
    God bless you dear friend.
    Mark Maniatt

  4. Red Cclark

    One of the great thrills un my life was when Peanuts Hucko came to The Sacramento Jazz Festival In the 70s’ as the featured guest and I got to play a set with him. ( i’m a drummer)
    Naturally one of his numbers was “Stealin’ Apples” and trading some “fours’ with peanuts was something I wont forget, Great man !!!!!
    Red Clark

  5. Craig

    I had the pleasure of seeing Peanuts Hucko perform live with other former members of the Glenn Miller Band in Perth Western Australia back in 1985. I was 25 at the time but having grown up with my parents Glenn Miller records I could not miss this show. And what a great show it was, these men were all in their 70’s and they just blew me away. During the intermission I had the pleasure of a brief talk to Peanuts, Wilbur Schwartz, and Billy May whist obtaining their autographs and to this day I still talk about the night we saw them play.

  6. Clive Copland

    During the summer of 1994 I was the guitarist with “Miller Magic” a Glenn Miller tribute band run by Glenn’s nephew John and formally run by Glenn’s younger brother Herb. We were doing an open air concert at Wycombe Abbey and Peanuts Hucko was going to join us for a few numbers. He was going through some charts for the band and asked if I knew “Stealin’ apples” I said I wasn’t familiar with the piece, then he gave me a guitar chart that was in a different key to the rest of the band. He told me to transpose it (something I hadn’t done for some time). We didn’t even get to rehearse the tune, just went straight into it in front of a listening audience, the great thing was he gave me a solo !! After the concert we chatted about music and movies and things in general. I found him a charming guy, the experience that day is something that stays with you forever.

  7. Joseph

    I met him at the DFW airport. He was in a wheelchair at the time, and needed help getting around. I was waiting for a flight to London, and so I helped. In exchange, he told me about his life. The names he mentioned blew my mind, and I quickly called over quite a few of the other choir members to listen to him speak. He got my address and sent me an autographed CD! I could have listened to him for hours, and it’s a meeting I’ll never forget.

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