Firehouse Five Plus Two

It started as a lark. Several of the cartoon animators at the Disney Studios were amateur musicians. They jammed together a bit during their off hours, always had a great time, and decided to form a regular Dixieland band. Thus was the Firehouse Five Plus Two formed in 1949. It also resulted in the birth of a label, for producer Lester Koenig so enjoyed their music that he started the Good Time Jazz label specifically to record the band.

Led by trombonist Ward Kimball and featuring trumpeter Danny Alguire (after Johnny Lucas left the band) and either Clarke Mallery, Tom Sharpsteen, or George Probert on clarinet (with Probert doubling on soprano), the Firehouse Five Plus Two was the ultimate party band. Often during the last chorus of a particularly heated number, Kimball would set off a siren, as if the playing was so hot that it was starting a fire.

During 1949-1969, the Firehouse Five Plus Two recorded regularly for Good Time Jazz, resulting in The Firehouse Five Plus Two Story, Goes South, Plays for Lovers, Goes to Sea, Crashes a Party, 16 Dixieland Favorites, Around the World, At Disneyland, Goes to a Fire, and finally Twenty Years Later. The group never really lost its popularity, wit or enthusiasm, sticking to the same happy Dixieland style that it had in 1949 before it became a band.

Although it broke up in the early 1970s (after recording the final album to be released by Good Time Jazz until the label was revived many years later), the Firehouse Five Plus Two is still fondly remembered for its fireman outfits, siren blasts, and infectious brand of Dixieland.