Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 33 of 33
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    In my attempts to woo ageing rockers into the wonderful world of Jazz, I'm finding that one thing that seems to get their attention is a good story...

    Of course, as we all know, a lot of characters from the halcyon days leave a lot of rock'n'rollers to shame ... So here's a few of the stories that help dispel the myth that Jazz was always for mouldy old figs:

    - Louis Armstrong smoked pot every day of his life, and was always stoned when performing and meeting several US Presidents during his career.

    - Lester Young invented the word "cool" and hundreds of other subterranean expressions, many of which we still use today.

    - Charlie Parker had a club named after him and was subsequently banned from it due to persistent drunkenness.

    - Jackie McLean pulled a knife on Charles Mingus after being told he sounded too much like Charlie Parker.

    - Miles Davis was beaten up til his white shirt was bloodied by cops just for standing outside Birdland where he was meant to be performing (with his name in lights).

    - The "Baroness" went to jail for Thelonius Monk when cops found a bag of weed (his) in her glove box.

    - Charlie Parker died laughing at the TV while staying at the Baroness's apartment. The ambulance men thought he was 60. He was 34.

    - In "Straight Life" Art Pepper tells dozens of sordid stories including armed burglaries that kept him constantly in and out of jail.

    - Lee Morgan was shot dead by a jealous lover while performing on stage.


    etc etc, and these are some of the tamer stories ....

    Not to glorify bad behaviour, but to remember that once upon a time Jazz lived in the mean streets, and lived to tell the tale, a long time before Hip Hop.

    "What's that got to do with Jazz?" you might say. Well, in my opinion, everything !!

    So let's hear about some of your favourite stories !

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Yeah guys like Art Pepper, Chet Baker and Hampton Hawes led lives that made most ‘wild’ rock stars look tame.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    According to John Hammond, in 1937 4 members of the Basey band, including Lester Young, were treated for syphilis. Charlie Parker was also treated for syphilis early in his career.

    Of course, Scott Joplin likely died of chronic neurosyphilis.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I know... and look how extraordinarily polite and well-behaved we are here, the learners and followers of jazz... :-)

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I know... and look how extraordinarily polite and well-behaved we are here, the learners and followers of jazz... :-)
    "Polite" was very much a learned condition for me.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I seem to recall that in George Benson's book he told some stories about a little bit of trouble he got into here and there. Hanging with a fast crowd. (But I know a few people who can say the same).

    I also seem to recall that Coryell and Remler had heroin issues, among many, many others mind you.


    Pass, Bird, Chet, Trane, Miles... So many great jazzers, and so much smack.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Favourite Armstrong story, told to Martin Taylor By Ruby Braff who played & toured with both of them - in the dressing room after a gig with a pick up band, suitably herbally refreshed.

    RB 'Louis, what do you do when the musicians you're playing with aren't as good as you'd like ?'

    LA 'When the guys on the bandstand can't cut it, I play the the band in my head '

    RB 'Who's in the band in your head?'

    LA 'Get your own goddamn band'
    Last edited by dot75; 06-29-2019 at 08:26 PM.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Or Sidney Bechet trying to shoot a piano player one afternoon in a cafe in Paris because of an argument over whether to play D or D7. (he missed the pianist but a Parisien lady was hit in the leg - he got deported to England where he got locked up for a fight with a prostitute).

    Wynton Marsalis tells of him banging on someone's door at three am with a dog on a piece of string - 'People are saying you think your dog's more dog than my dog - let's find out'

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    Or Sidney Bechet trying to shoot a piano player one afternoon in a cafe in Paris because of an argument over whether to play D or D7. (he missed the pianist but a Parisien lady was hit in the leg - he got deported to England where he got locked up for a fight with a prostitute).

    Wynton Marsalis tells of him banging on someone's door at three am with a dog on a piece of string - 'People are saying you think your dog's more dog than my dog - let's find out'
    Whoa! I had no idea Sidney Bechet was that wild!

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    You gotta remember in the earliest days of jazz, that weed, cocaine, morphine/opium were all legal. It was party time in New Orleans, and jazz was the soundtrack and you better believe that the musicians were involved in the lifestyle.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    "Polite" was very much a learned condition for me.
    Oh, dear. So they thumped you one way or another till you were 'polite'. No wonder you took up jazz!

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I just read a story about Gerry Mulligan kind of over-reacting to the news that his drummer, Frank Isola, had just recorded an album with Stan Getz.
    Mulligan heard it on the radio when he was driving Isola's drums to their gig in his station wagon.
    He was so mad at Isola that he didn't show up for the gig and drove off with Isola's drum set!

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Chet Baker spent 1960-1962 in an Italian jail, sentenced for drug smuggling and forgery.

    Red Rodney also discovered heroin, and found a new career as a forger. He claimed to have imitated the Auditor and Comptroller of the United States Air Force on one occasion, in order to steal the payroll of Nellis Air Force Base. He later befriended Wayne Kramer, the MC5 guitarist, when both were serving time.

  16. #15
    I'm enjoying these stories, let's keep them coming ...

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Here Barry Harris talking about a similar racist experience he had:
    " So we came to New York. We stayed with Sheila Jordan, who is a Detroiter, and with Jeannie Dawson. Sheila Jordan almost got me killed, too. I always tell people the story about her almost getting us killed. We were working at a bar in Hamtramack, Michigan, which had a big Polish community. So we’re working in this bar, and here comes Jeannie Dawson and this other girl, they come in the bar and come right over to us — “Ooh, hey!” And boy, every eye in the bar was talkin’ about, “What’s going on here?” I’ll tell you this. We left that bar just in time. A streetcar came, and we left just right to catch that streetcar before they caught up with us. They were trying to catch us and mess with us. So that’s how prejudice… That stuff goes way back."

    It’s Barry Harris’ 84th Birthday: A Link to a 2011 Post of a Downbeat Article, and Several Verbatim Interviews Conducted For the Piece | Today Is The Question: Ted Panken on Music, Politics and the Arts

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Jazz was and for the most part is still street music and not the pretty suburban cul-de-sac. You better be street smart and a lot of attitude to become part of the scene even now.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Another story from Gene Lees:

    Soon after high school, Clark Terry traveled with Ida Cox and the Darktown Scandals in the Reuben and Cherry Carnival. After finishing a tour, the group went south from Pennsylvania to its winter quarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Clark said, ‘I was hanging out with William Oval Austin. We called him Fats Austin. He was a bass player. We had no warm-weather clothes. We went to the five and ten cent store to buy some T-shirts. They cost about 15 cents in those days.‘

    The store was crowded and Austin bumped into an elderly white woman who used a cane. She started screaming, ‘That nigger tried to knock me down. Kill him, kill him!‘ Clark and his friend edged their way to the door, and as soon as they were outside began to run. A huge, screaming mob formed behind and ran after them. They came to a construction site, where a new round building was being erected. Fortunately for them it was a Saturday and the site was deserted. They ran into it. Clark pulled Austin down into an excavation and the two young men covered themselves with mud and debris. They could hear the crowd running above them. At last a silence descend? ‘But we stayed buried in that mud till dark,‘ Clark said. At last, cautiously, they crawled out of the excavation and left.

  20. #19
    .... happy days ... ....

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    Jazz was and for the most part is still street music and not the pretty suburban cul-de-sac. You better be street smart and a lot of attitude to become part of the scene even now.
    Even now? Really? I wish that were true...

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Well I think it’s worth hearing Miles’ side of things for a balanced view:

    Miles Davis, The Playboy Interview (September 1962)
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  23. #22
    I never tire of reading anything about Miles. Never.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Anita O'Day if she hasn't been already mentioned. Maybe my favorite jazz vocalist. Her book High Times Hard Times is a good companion piece to Pepper's Straight Life.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Jazz at Massey Hall was the only time the all star quintet, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach played together. The last time Bird and Dizzy played together.
    It's well known that Charlie Parker used a plastic saxophone in this concert. Rumour has it that, he used a plastic saxophone because he had pawned his saxophone to buy heroin. I don't know if this is true. I haven't seen any official resource that confirms it. But if true, I wonder where that saxophone is now.
    It takes a pretty good drummer to be better than no drummer at all. -- Chet Baker

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Jazz at Massey Hall was the only time the all star quintet, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach played together. The last time Bird and Dizzy played together.
    It's well known that Charlie Parker used a plastic saxophone in this concert. Rumour has it that, he used a plastic saxophone because he had pawned his saxophone to buy heroin. I don't know if this is true. I haven't seen any official resource that confirms it. But if true, I wonder where that saxophone is now.
    from wiki....

    The Grafton saxophone that Parker used (serial number 10265) was sold at the Christie's auction house in London in September 1994 for £93,500 sterling. The buyer was the
    American Jazz Museum
    , located in Parker's home town of
    Kansas City, Missouri
    .

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    from wiki....

    The Grafton saxophone that Parker used (serial number 10265) was sold at the Christie's auction house in London in September 1994 for £93,500 sterling. The buyer was the
    American Jazz Museum
    , located in Parker's home town of
    Kansas City, Missouri
    .
    Oh, I meant the original saxophone he pawned to get heroin, not the plastic one.
    It takes a pretty good drummer to be better than no drummer at all. -- Chet Baker

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    I heard of a jazz legend who never paid the fines on his overdue library books.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    I heard of a jazz legend who never paid the fines on his overdue library books.
    Well, ok, thanks I guess...

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    Anita O'Day if she hasn't been already mentioned. Maybe my favorite jazz vocalist. Her book High Times Hard Times is a good companion piece to Pepper's Straight Life.
    I've often wondered what she was like as a person. Any stories from her book worth sharing?

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I've often wondered what she was like as a person. Any stories from her book worth sharing?
    She starts the book by talking about the time she OD'd and they declared her dead...interesting enough for ya? It's a great book.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny View Post
    She starts the book by talking about the time she OD'd and they declared her dead...interesting enough for ya? It's a great book.
    Well, yeah, that's a pretty dramatic way to get your attention right from the get go... It would be interesting to get her take on the whole scene, I may have a read, cheers.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I've often wondered what she was like as a person. Any stories from her book worth sharing?
    It's worth reading. She was a child of the Depression and started her show biz career as a teenager in dance marathon competitions. She showed a talent for singing and the rest is history. Despite the drug and alcohol addiction, jail time, more than a few pre Planned Parenthood back alley abortions and other jazz life horror stories she comes off as a person with some degree of moral fiber. Not a complete sleaze ball. She spent a lot of her life living alone in hotel rooms, getting high and gigging.
    One thing of interest is that her uvula which is the thing hanging from the soft palate in the back of the throat got accidentally removed during a toncillectomy resulting in her inability to sing with vibrato. She would move her head quickly from side to side to get an approximate effect. She had great time. Her first husband was a drummer and she had some ability on the instrument.



    (check out homeboy chopping it out on the git box. Dude can comp.)
    Last edited by mrcee; 07-06-2019 at 02:25 PM.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    I don't think Jaco Pastorius was mentioned already? He would be very upset.

    Anyway, Bill Milkowski book about him was a great read. Jaco was a proud bad boy of jazz, even though that game ultimately destroyed him unfortunately.