Benny Strickler's short career as a trumpeter ended in perhaps the most depressing setting known to mankind, a sanatorium in Fayetteville, AR. If a continuation of this anti-Fayetteville stance is desired it might be suggested that short of contracting tuberculosis there would have been no reason for Strickler to return to his hometown, where most residents think jazz is a dog food trucked in from Alabama. The trumpeter did play in some local bands at the outset of his career but at age 19 had already fled west to California, where he began gigging in the interesting Seger Ellis Brass Choir.
One of the unique features of the trumpeter's string of subsequent affiliations was his presence in both so-called "real" swing bands as well as the legendary Western swing concoction of Bob Wills, with whom he was a regular for nearly two years beginning in 1941. The former work included a sadly underworked and under-recorded big band led by fellow trumpeter Wingy Manone as well as a combo with violinist Joe Venuti. Strickler's final job before being stricken with tuberculosis was taking over a trumpet seat from Lu Watters in 1942, when Watters got drafted. This position in the attractive-sounding Yerba Buena Band only lasted a couple of weeks. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi