Harold Padeo (sometimes written as Padio or Patio) is an early jazz pioneer who made his home in Oakland in 1908.
What is known about him is that Padeo traveled by train with Manuel William [Bill] Johnson, Ernest Coycault, Alphonse Ferzand and Charles Washington from Louisiana to California. The journey west spanned many months, as they bribed conductors to take them to further stops, and disembarked at multiple cities along the way to busk for train fare until they made it to California.2 In California, they played many venues, including multiple shows in Pantages Theatre, Oakland.3
Quotes on Padeo
Padeo's story has not been pieced together, but many great jazz musicians of the time have made references to his skills as a trombonist. Benjamin "Reb" Spikes said of Padeo in a 1980 interview:
"A bunch of those Creoles came out of about a year or so apart. They was one great trombone player - went up North - Pappose or something- they had all them Creole names. They all came through here '7 - 1907 or '8, '9, like that, you know."
Johnson's wife Mayme also recalled Padeo as the original trombonist of the Creole Band who later lost his mind. Padeo reportedly toured with Johnson and the Creole Band up the Pacific Northwest to Seattle and Vancouver. During this time, he crossed paths with Jelly Roll Morton.3 In his own words, Morton recalls:
"About the time I got down to my last dime, WIll Bowman asked me to bring a band into his cabaret in Vancouver, Canada. I sent for Padio, my trombone-playing friend who lived in Oakland. Poor Padio, he's dead now,never got East so none of the critics ever heard him, but that boy, if he heard a tune, would just start making all kind of snakes around it nobody ever heard before."4
Who is Padeo and What happened to him?
Sadly, despite his reputation as an amazing valve trombonist, Padeo's story seems to be lost to time and poor recognition of his talent, as Morton notes.
His name appears on the 1920 bandlist for shows in Toronto as well, as 'H. Patio'. Tracing back his name, jazz historian Lawrence Gushee found a listing for an "Albert Paddio" in a 1899 directory listing from New Orleans, living at 3214 Saratoga Street. This is identical to the name listed for a trombonist playing at the Patricia in Vancouver in December 1919. Gushee suspects Albert Paddio and Harold Padeo/Padio/Patio may be just one in the same.3
1 D. Vernhetes and B. Lindstrôm (2012). "Ernest Coycault 1884-1940." Jazz Puzzles (vol. 1). http://www.vjm.biz/163_coycault_web.pdf
2 Gioia, T. (1992). West Coast Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press.
3 Gushee, L. (2005). Pioneers of Jazz: story of the Creole Band. New York: Oxford University Press.
4 Lomax, A. (1950). Mister Jelly Roll: Fortunes of Jelly Rolle Morton, New Orleans Creole and "Inventor of Jazz".