Unbelievable group

Lalo Schifrin tells the following story about a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in Amsterdam.

“I was on piano with Jo Jones (drums) and Art Davis (bass). The soloists were Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Canonball Adderley, Stan Getz, J. J. Johnson, John Coltrane, Don Byas, Roy Eldridge, Nat Adderley and Dizzy Gillespie. It was an unbelievable group.

“Coleman Hawkins called the tune. It was Indiana. Everybody played a solo. There was the ritual of the drum solo by Jo Jones. Finally we got to the ending—with the usual long, long chord. Jo Jones was all over his cymbals, tom–toms etc. Everyone was indulging in the usual florid ad libs. Dizzy and Roy Eldridge were fighting to see who could hit the highest note. (I think Roy Eldridge won.) Finally there was a cut–off.

“Backstage Roy Eldridge said to the bass player Art Davis: ‘There are so many notes in one chord. Why did you have to pick my note?’”

From Howard Lucraft

Squawk of Glory

...On this final concert I was booked to play with a ten-piece group, about six numbers, the first one being String of Pearls. I hadn't played for years. Both my flugelhorn and trumpet were purchased from the PX back in the 1960s when I was on a German tour with Shirley Bassey. Ronnie Stephenson had booked the band and we had Herb Geller, Bobby Burgess, Sal Nistico, Heinz von Hermann, Jiggs Whigham, Shake Keane and a few other heavies in there. One of the trumpet players was a teacher in the American camp in Munich, so he got me the instruments cheap. The trumpet is a Schilke, same model Bill Chase used to have. Over the years the tuning slide has got jammed several times and I once pulled the whole trumpet in half trying to free it. My brother-in-law, who built his own house with his bare hands, and who knows nothing about trumpets, soldered it together again. Good as new.

In String of Pearls I usually do a long gliss up to the first note of the intro. The valve I use to do this, number three, stuck halfway down on the concert, thereby stopping any sound coming out of the horn. There was a bit of a squawk from the side of my mouth and that was it. After all these years I was going out in a squawk of glory.

With a little bit of luck and some quite considerable brute force I managed to get the valve going again. Now warned, the remainder of my offerings went by without mishap, including the famous Butterfield solo. The trouble stemmed from the fact that I no longer possessed any valve oil. When you are almost 75 years of age you don't go out buying bottles of valve oil.

A couple of girls were singing Rum and Coca Cola - you know the one - Working for the Yankee dollaaaaaaaar..... Every time they finished the chorus I came in with some very natty high-note Latin stuff for eight bars. There was no music for this one and I kept getting the feeling that the rhythm were in a different key, but the pianist, who was right beside me, assured me that everything was OK. I even got congratulated afterwards on my performance. It was only afterwards that I realised that everything I'd played was in the key of C concert, while the rest of them were playing in G. No one noticed.

From Ron Simmonds

Nobody's Human (Johnny Griffin)

And now, here's a quote from author and novellist Dean Koontz.

Human beings can always be relied upon to assert, with vigour, their God-given right to be stupid.

Er...what was that again...?

A couple of years ago Peter Herbolzheimer invited me to Stuttgart to hear his new BuJazzO youth band. I've gone a bit deaf over the years, so, although I had a seat in the front row, right before him, he spoke so quietly into the microphone that I couldn't make out anything he said.

About halfway through the concert he muttered away for a moment and I heard the audience break into applause. He looked at me and nodded, and it was then that I realised that he had announced me. I stood up, turned, smiled, bowed and waved my arms.

Afterwards he said that he had told the people that I had been his first trumpet player in the Rhythm Combination and Brass for many years.

The next evening there was another concert. Halfway through he went through the same routine, for me just as inaudibly; the audience began clapping, he looked at me and nodded. I stood and turned to the audience with a smile, both arms raised in acknowledgement.

Right behind me Erwin Lehn, the celebrated leader of the Stuttgart Radio Big Band, was on his feet, bowing and smiling to the ecstatic throng. (That was the band that recorded my score of MacArthur Park with Bobby Burgess.)

When I turned back to look at Peter he had a satisfied grin on his face. I'll get him for that, one day.
Ron Simmonds

Heard on the Jay Leno show

Leno is interviewing a man in the street in Los Angeles.

Leno: What do you do?

Man: I teach in college here.

Leno: What language do they speak in Austria?

Man: Er - Australian?

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