(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....
John W. Wagner
(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...