Toots Sweet

From Plastic Tub

Roscoe Redfern referred to him as "A wily nigger of French extraction." And that he was. Having established himself at a young age as an adaptable and talented trumpet player, he landed several gigs and played in the greatest juke joints of Texas and Louisiana. He studied at the knee of Argy Boy Beauchamp, learning many a folk song which he would later turn into magnificent inspirations for the free jazz experiments of Ornette Coleman, Arthur Doyle and Billy "Bo-Bo" Buckingham.

At thirty years of age, in 1960, Sweet left the jazz scene in pursuit of a more obscure obsession: mumbletypeg. He had played the game since he was a child, and continued to chase perfection for twenty more years, retiring to a farm in Argentina as the undisputed master of this knife-throwing sport, having coached at least three world champions after himself dominating the championships from 1965 to 1976.

He re-appeared from time to time, most famously in a series of television ads for the Buck knife company, extolling the virtues of their lock blades. He also appeared in the 1995 film The Beef as Black Jack Spade's estranged uncle Ned.

Kevin Statham has recently reported seeing Sweet at a bar in Baton Rouge, leading a jazz/tango combo called "Suck on Dis", but such forays back into the music scene are considered incidental to the real story of his U.S. activities, whose purposes remain obscure.


Toots was his real name but his close friends called him "Teats" after that bar fight in DeLand, Florida.