Meanwhile Walt is still working five days a week in the tannery and playing drums at night. Recently his big band leader, Larry Fotin, decided to change the style of his band to a two-beat Dixieland style—so named because of the accents on the second and fourth beats of the bar. Walt had no interest in this old fashioned ricky-tick nonsense whatsoever; he didn’t care how successful the fellow was.
So Walt leaves and bounces around from band to band for a while, playing ballrooms at a decent union wage, and finally hooks up with an old buddy Chuck Gordon who plays the French horn and is starting his own outfit—strictly a swing band. Walt joins the band comprised of four saxophones, three trumpets, two trombones, piano, guitar, bass, a vocalist, and Chuck on French horn playing along with the ‘bone section. Their songbook is top shelf—copying many of the complex arrangements of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Arty Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Larry Clinton. Walt really digs this and it keeps him on his toes.
For the occasion Walt buys himself a new white pearl drum set—complete—made by Slingerland, the same company who provides drums for Walt’s idol Gene Krupa.