This chapter presents a biographical sketch of Sweatman, who was born on February 7, 1882 in Brunswick, Missouri, the third child born to Coleman and Matilda Sweatman. Sweatman’s first musical instrument was piano, which he was taught by his elder sister, Eva. Sweatman later taught himself to play the violin before subsequently learning to play clarinet, on which he was also self-taught. He also became proficient on bass clarinet, trombone, and organ. Sweatman’s style of playing was strongly influenced by the orchestral ragtime bands he heard and played in as a teenager, and was to remain virtually fixed for the rest of his career.
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