jazz

hi de hi de hi de ho

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 1983, At twenty four years old, I’m on a plane home from Western New York, after having visited some relatives.

I can’t shake the feeling that I recognize that old black guy in front of me as a famous musician. “Duke Ellington?” I wonder. “Count Basie?”

At least one of them’s dead.

There’s a middle-aged couple next to him. The wife asks him, “Are you Cab Calloway?”

My anxiety attack is no more. I heave a sigh of relief.

I overhear Calloway say softly, “That handsome young gentleman back there won’t have to go crazy now.”

Each week Rochelle Wisoff~Fields leads us in Friday Fictioneers, as we write a story based upon a photo prompt.

This week’s photo was supplied by Lucy Fridkin.

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the in crowd

“The Limelight is the most happening club in all the Village,” intoned our notorious sidekick, Boy.

Since our school days, Boy has always been hep to the jive, so we reckoned we could trust him.

“Always make sure you tell ’em you know Effie,” he assured us.

As we walked inside, the bouncer stamped our hands, as a Charles Mingus-type bassist played “Good-Bye Pork Pie Hat” in the corner.

“I like it here,” I thought. “The espresso is strong. The vibes are hep. The existentialist oddballs are good for a laugh. I’ll stick around for a while longer.”

Rochelle Wisoff~Field leads us in our weekly attempt to write a fictional story of one-hundred words, Friday Fictioneers. This week’s photo prompt was contributed by Amy Reese.

the couple who like jazz

demolition-4

Cynthia arrived home as I was listening to “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”.

“Mingus?”, she wondered aloud.

“Jeff Beck,” I gently corrected her.

“What a perfect beginning to an amazing evening!”

“I somehow thought you’d say that.”

“It was first on Charles Mingus’ ‘Ah Um’, I reminded her. “Then Jeff Beck recorded it on ‘Blow By Blow’ sixteen years later.

We sat back, drank gallons of black coffee, and relaxed.

Quiet simple conversation and jazz filled the room.

Just then she looked at her computer’s screensaver.

“Let’s listen to Miles Davis’ “On Green Dolphin Street,” she recommended.

“They’re black whales,” I joked.

all that colorful jazz

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Roy G. Biv.”

I’ve been trying to listen to a lot of jazz lately. Although I have quiet a few jazz CD’s in my collection, I’ve been listening to songs mostly on Youtube. It’s quite enjoyable but I’m not very familiar with it, except the cliches. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite smitten with the 1960’s, both musically and otherwise. Many jazz musicians,including Miles Davis, Ramsey Lewis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, were quite prominent during that era. Music of this kind can be quite intense, invoking a feeling of red hot emotional fury. It’s nothing like my favorite style. I’ve always especially been partial to the kind of song that can be found on the Beatles’ 1962-1966 greatest hits album, the one with the orange cover. Often a jazz song can be quite inordinately long by my standards. Patience has never been my specialty. It’s a lot easier for me to listen to something that’s only about as long as “Yellow Submarine”. Of course there are some short jazz songs. Thelonius Monk’s “Blue Monk” is only three minutes and seventeen seconds long. “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the M.G.’s is three mnutes and thirty nine seconds long. Maybe I could listen to Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”. Up until now jazz has been as frequently a part of my life as appearances by Charlie Brown’s friend Violet in the “Peanuts” comic strip.
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cab calloway’s hat

I recently found a most confusing voicemail message on my cell phone. All I could understand were the words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Eventually I figured out what it was about. In 1981 I flew to western New York to visit some cousins for Thanksgiving. Famous jazz singer and bandleadercabcalloway Cab Calloway was on the plane. The call was from a representative of his estate. His lawyer explained to me that Mr. Calloway was so favorably impressed with what a charming and intelligent young gentleman I was that he (Calloway) intended to leave me something in his will. He planned on leaving me his famous trademark wide-brimmed hat. Because of circumstances beyond his control, however, he somehow neglected to include that specific provision in his will. He did, however, remember to tell all his friends and associates about me. Fortunately he told them quite often about his intention. He died twenty years ago this month. I should have gotten the hat then but it’s very nice to know that the problem has finally been resolved entirely in my favor. I just know that I shall make quite an exceptionally nice impression when I am finally able to wear the long overdue souvenir of such a legendary musical figure.

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the music man

ublt

Because I was born in September of 1959, the first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 1960’s.    Musically and otherwise the 1960’s have made quite an indelible mark upon my lifetime.    My childhood was filled with all sorts of musical influences.    I was four and a half years old when the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.    To this day they’re still undeniably my absolute favorites.     That era was known for musical variety shows like “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour “, and “The Dean Martin Show”, among several others.     As a kid I was always smitten with the sounds of  songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown”,   Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525”, and  Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.    Whenever I’d go to a doctor’s office I’d keep obsessing over songs like Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” and Mason Williams’   “Classical Gas”,  among others that were played in waiting rooms.    The folk, jazz, country and other musical styles of that era have always been quite a major love of my life.    Although I’ve never been even the least bit willing to humor the liberals, I’ve even  always  thoroughly enjoyed the protest songs of that era.     Along with all that I made sure I joined the glee club at my grammar school, St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, as soon as I was old enough.    Brother Edmond and Brother James, of the De la Salle Christian Brothers, taught us all the then-current popular songs as well as Christmas and Easter songs and show tunes.   Brother James played the guitar quite well and Brother Edmond, with his fine baritone voice, sang an exceptional version of “Edelweiss(Blossom of Snow)”  from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.     I even took guitar lessons for a while at one of the local public schools, P.S. 127.    My parents were always quite happy to humor my sister and me about our tastes in music.   They enjoyed country music, Edith Piaf and other standards they grew up with so that widened my horizons even more.     Eventually the 1960′ s became the 1970’s.   That era started out fairly well with  Carole King’s “Tapestry” as well as James Taylor, Led Zeppelin and a few other holdovers from the 1960’s.    Eventually, though, disco started to become popular.   My teenage years saw the rise of tacky styles in music and dress.    There were good singers and bands too, though, like the Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Grand Funk and a few others.    In my imagination, though, gone forever were the days when everything musical was perfect.    Even most of  the then-current music I listened to generally tended to be the latest album by someone like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin (a variation of the Yardbirds).    I had become such a musical snob and purist.    I continuously picked fights with all the kids in school, as well as the public school kids, defending my claim that even in the best of 1970’s music, there was something missing compared to that of the previous decade.      Unfortunately I’ve never been terribly comptetent musically.   My strengths seem to lie more in writing and story telling.    Maybe that’s why I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 1960’s.     It was an era that included songs like Joan Baez’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving”, based on a poem by Lord Byron, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” , based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, and Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind”, based on a Christina Rossetti poem.       The music I grew up with has profoundly influenced both my adult musical tastes and even my entire life in general.    Although the singers and musicians of my early days could never possibly get me to agree with their liberal political and social agenda, they’ve most certainly shaped my imagination and given me ideas and interest which I may never have otherwise gotten.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/daily-prompt-papa-loves-mambo/