Thursday, September 28, 2017

Gil Evans, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and "The St. Louis Blues"

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“Cannonball runs away with the album [New Bottle, Old Wine: The Great Jazz Composers Interpreted by Gil Evans ]; his voice predominates. The scores sound like what Gil might have written for Charlie Parker if he had been unencumbered by the mishaps that occurred in his work with Parker in 1953. Gil tailored the arrangements to Cannonball's strengths — his warm sound, his bop-oriented cascading improvisations, and his unflagging energy.”
- Stephanie Stein Crease, Gil Evans Out of the Cool His Life and Music

Most Jazz fans are aware of the significant role that arranger-composer Gil Evans played in the seminal 1949 Birth of the Cool Recordings under Miles Davis’ nominal leadership and the larger, orchestral recordings that he made with Miles beginning with the 1959 Columbia release of Miles Ahead which was quickly followed by their collaboration on Columbia’s Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.

But shortly before Gil began applying his “... imaginative and often startlingly daring orchestral concepts” in these larger projects with Miles, Gil weaved his magic with alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley for a Pacific Jazz recording entitled New Bottle, Old Wine: The Great Jazz Composers Interpreted by Gil Evans [CDP 7 46855 2].

As explained in the liner notes to the recording:

“As with the now classic Miles Davis collaborations this album is a joint effort between two giants of this music. Gil Evans and Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley. Gil has been since his early work with the Claude Thornhill band and the Miles Davis Nonet, a trailblazer and pacesetter with this imaginative and often startlingly daring orchestral concepts. Cannonball has, since his arrival in New York in the mid-1950's, established himself as one of the important musicians of our era irrespective of genre.

This album consists of compositions written by and/or associated with major figures in this music including Louis, Lester, Bird and Dizzy, all of whom transformed the aesthetic vis-a-vis the improvisor. The rest, W. C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk are all important composers.”

The eight tunes on New Bottle, Old Wine are St. Louis Blues, King Porter Stomp, Willow Tree, Struttin’ With Some Barbecue, Lester Leaps in, ‘Round Midnight, Manteca and Bird Feathers.

And while all of them are magnificently arranged by Gil and memorably performed by Cannonball, St. Louis Blues has always remained my favorite largely for the reasons described in this excerpt from the liner notes:

“Cannonball with his ultra personal and warmly beautiful sound opens THE ST. LOUIS BLUES with an excellent paraphrase of the melody. The second chorus spotlights a background of trilling guitar and sustained chords vaguely reminiscent of Armstrong's "West End Blues'.'The next section, in minor, with muted brass and using substitute chords is especially beautiful and evolves into a Cannonball double time. Punching antiphonal brass undergird Cannonball s theme restatement and lead back to the original swing tempo. Check out Harvey Phillip's tuba on the restatement.”

Here’s more information about the evolution of this recording from Stephanie Stein Crease’s Gil Evans Out of the Cool His Life and Music which, incidentally, was the winner of the 2002 Deems Taylor Award for excellence on the subject of music [paragraphing modified]:

“...  George Avakian again became a key figure [for Gil's next recording project under his own leadership]. Avakian left Columbia in early 1958, warned by his doctor to slow down. His eight-year tenure as A&R director for jazz and international pop albums at Columbia Records had been literally gold-plated, and he left the label with a star-studded jazz roster. But Avakian seemed unable to stay out of the recording business. He was invited to form a partnership with West Coast producer Dick Bock, owner of the World Pacific label, with tempting conditions: fewer recordings, less bureaucracy, and the freedom to make quick decisions. Avakian accepted. World Pacific (Pacific Jazz), flourishing from the success of its recordings by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker, now had an active on-the-scene jazz producer on both coasts.

Shortly thereafter, Avakian ran into Gil, who said that he had some ideas for an album along the lines of Miles Ahead. Gil wanted to feature Cannonball Adderley, an alto saxophonist with a joyous sound a la Charlie Parker, who had been getting a lot of attention as a sideman with Miles Davis; Cannonball was also between labels. Avakian suggested they could do something for World Pacific. The result was New Bottle, Old Wine, which was recorded in New York in four sessions in April and May 1958.

The album, subtitled "The Great Jazz Composers Interpreted by Gil Evans and His Orchestra," romps through jazz compositions by some of Gil's favorite composers and performers. It moves chronologically through pieces by W. C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie, and ends with Charlie Parker's rousing "Bird Feathers." Its buoyant mood contrasts starkly with the brooding beauty of Miles Ahead. The rhythm section—bassist Paul Chambers with Art Blakey or Philly Joe Jones on drums—delivers a powerful swing to the mid- and up-tempo numbers.

Cannonball runs away with the album; his voice predominates. The scores sound like what Gil might have written for Charlie Parker if he had been unencumbered by the mishaps that occurred in his work with Parker in 1953. Gil tailored the arrangements to Cannonball's strengths — his warm sound, his bop-oriented cascading improvisations, and his unflagging energy.

The arrangements were written for three trumpets, three trombones, French horn, and tuba; Cannonball, two other woodwind players, guitar, bass, and drums completed the fourteen-piece ensemble. Gil plays piano on Waller's "Willow Tree" and Monk's "'Round Midnight." The transition from " 'Round Midnight" to "Manteca" renders the two pieces a suite, the latter performed with a relentless drive reminiscent of Gillespie's own late 1940s big band. Gil's arrangement of "Bird Feathers" by Charlie Parker opens with a unison-with-a-twist—flute, muted trumpet, and brushes, in this case—which brings out new facets of the composition.

In 1959 Evans recorded a sequel for World Pacific, Great Jazz Standards, produced by Dick Bock. (Avakian had moved on to start a pop division at Warner Brothers Records.) This album included some musicians new to Gil's work on record, notably drummer Elvin Jones and veteran tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson, who, along with most of the other musicians — Steve Lacy, Johnny Coles, Bill Barber, Jimmy Cleveland, Louis Mucci, and Al Block - would play and/or record with Evans frequently over the next few years. As a group they added as much substantive personality to Gil's music as did long-term members of Ellington's band. Gil, like Ellington, wrote expressly for his players, targeting them for certain pitches and effects, certain nuances. Their unique voices were inseparable from the character of the composite sound Gil was after.

Great Jazz Standards was recorded in February 1959, shortly after Gil played at Birdland for two weeks with approximately the same personnel. Gil again used "great jazz composers" to tie the album together and wrote arrangements for compositions by Bix Beiderbecke, Thelonious Monk, Don Redman, John Lewis, and Clifford Brown; the album includes one Evans original, "La Nevada" (Theme). This album, like New Bottle, Old Wine, was marked by a strong rhythmic drive not often associated with Evans's work, delivered on most selections by Elvin Jones's drums.”

You can sample the music from New Bottle, Old Wine: The Great Jazz Composers Interpreted by Gil Evans [CDP 7 46855 2]on the following video montage of images of old St. Louis which uses Cannonball and Gil’s expressive performance of St. Louis Blues as its soundtrack.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cannonball Adderley - "The View From Within" by Orrin Keepnews

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Next to his brother Nat, I don’t think anyone had a closer musical relationship to Julian “Cannonball” Adderley than Orrin Keepnews for all the reasons explained in the following essay which is excerpted from Orrin’s The View from Within: Jazz Writings, 1948-1987.

In the 1990s when we both lived in San Francisco, I got to know Orrin pretty well; we were neighbors and he allowed me to interview him about a variety of artists who had recorded for him at Riverside Records.

We usually met at a restaurant/club on Geary known as The Beach House, a somewhat ludicrously decorated place with Tiki Heads, lots of bamboo, waitresses in Hawaiian print dresses and a funky looking bartender who served up a pretty good Mai Tai.

During one of our get-togethers, he gave me a paperback copy of The View from Within: Jazz Writings, 1948-1987 which, dog-eared from lots of readings during business travels over the years, I still have.

I laughed when I first saw how he had inscribed it: “To Steve, a good friend of the music.” No one has ever been a better friend to the music than Orrin Keepnews.

© -Orrin Keepnews: copyright protected; all rights reserved; used with the author’s permission.

Cannonball Adderley

“Julian Adderley was my friend. He was among the handful of people to whom I felt most closely connected during the almost two decades that I knew him. He was also a musician with whom I worked closely during two specific periods—the very important (to him and to me) six years between 1958 and 1964 that he spent at Riverside Records, and again on two 1975 projects during what turned out to be the last months of his life.

These facts are not in themselves exactly unique. I have other friends, including musicians with whom I have spent uncountable quantities of time in the recording studio. More than a few of the musicians I find myself working with now are men I knew and worked with more than a few years ago. Other friends have died, including vastly talented musicians with whom I felt deep ties, like Wes Montgomery and Wynton Kelly.

No, the facts are not unique. But the man was.

I first met Cannonball some time in 1957. I still remember with reasonable clarity the circumstances of that first meeting. As a matter of fact many of my memories of Cannon are in terms of specifically recalled scenes and incidents. And since—like me and like most of the people I've known in the jazz world—his life seemed in one way or another to be about 90 percent concerned with his music, those recollections and some of the thoughts and comments they stir up can very suitably be presented here.

To start with that first meeting: I know it was '57, and I figure it for spring or summer—the circumstantial evidence being that I was introduced to Cannon and his brother Nat by Clark Terry (whose own first Riverside album was recorded in April of that year), and that we were all standing around in front of a rather celebrated Greenwich Village jazz club called the Cafe Bohemia. That would seem to indicate a New York night too warm for either musicians or really hip customers to be inside the club between sets; therefore, possibly any time between May and September. Or being outside may just have been a safety measure. The Bohemia, in addition to being celebrated as the place where top bands like

Miles Davis's and the Modern Jazz Quartet played when in New York, and as the scene of Cannonball's legendary evening of sitting in with an Oscar Pettiford group when he first hit the big city in 1955, was also well known for a tough owner who shoved customers and musicians around when they clogged up the narrow bar area.

Anyway, there were Cannon and Nat and a midway point in a chain reaction that has always fascinated me (through Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records I first met Thelonious Monk, through whom I met Clark Terry, and thus Cannonball—who was the first man to turn me on to Wes Montgomery, and so on and on). I liked the men, and it seemed pretty mutual; and I liked their music, but not nearly enough other people did, because by late '57 the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet had disbanded. It was not at all a bad band (the brothers' rhythm section was Junior Mance, Sam Jones, and Jimmy Cobb), but the time wasn't right yet, or something, and they drew such slim audiences that, according to Julian's deadpan account, their best weeks were the ones they didn't work—"At least then we broke even."

The breaking up of that quintet turned out to be far from disastrous. Just consider the after-effects. For one thing, Cannon decided to put in some time collecting a salary without leadership headaches, and so he accepted Miles's job offer, a key step in the formation of probably the most significant and influential band in modern jazz; the sextet with Adderley, Coltrane, Evans, Chambers, and Philly Joe. Secondly, the Adderley brothers blamed their record company to some extent for their band's failure and Cannon began to take steps to terminate what proved to be a somewhat ambiguous contract with Mercury. By this time he was getting lots of moral encouragement from me, and Riverside (which had Monk, Bill Evans, and a couple of Sonny Rollins albums) was looking like an increasingly interesting label, and in June 1958 he signed a recording contract with us.

What I remember above all from the meeting at which the signing took place was that Cannonball was accompanied by his personal manager. I don't think I had ever before dealt with a musician who had a real honest-to-God professional manager. Hell, Julian was only a sideman at that time, and the contract involved the lowest imaginable advance payments, and we even used the standard printed form contract that the musicians' union provided. But there was a manager (John Levy, eventually one of the busiest and best, and associated with Adderley forever after) and there was one special condition. Mercury, it seems, had only recorded

Cannon's working group once (and hadn't issued that album until after the group broke up). So I promised that, as soon as Julian reformed a band, and just as soon as he felt it was ready to record— whenever and wherever that might be—I would go there and record them. An interesting verbal commitment; a non-existent band would be promptly recorded someplace on the road by a still very shoestring company that had never sent its staff producer, me, to work any further than a subway ride away from home. But it turned out to be one of the neatest examples of the good results of bread-cast-upon-the-waters since the Bible.

Cannonball began by recording some strong albums for us (the first two involved men like Milt Jackson, Bill Evans, Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly—both because of Cannon's taste in picking sidemen and because of good players' desire to associate with him). Then by mid-1959, he was ready to make his move, to leave Miles and reshape his own band. Inevitably that meant Nat; and just about inevitably their longtime Florida buddy, Sam Jones, on bass. In those days, when there were a great many regularly working groups out there, it was hard to put together an experienced unit without raiding other bands. Julian wasn't happy about this, but he knew what drummer he had to have, and so he rather reluctantly forced himself to steal Lou Hayes away from Horace Silver.

He was a bit more indecisive about the piano slot: for a while he favored Phineas Newborn, and I remember going with Julian to Birdland one night to hear him. Newborn, always an impressive technician, was pretty overwhelming that night, and he was offered the job. But, Cannon informed me, Newborn had one impossible demand: he wanted featured billing. The trouble was, Nat was already guaranteed that—and how could you have a leader's name and two featured artists in what was only a five-man group without the other two feeling an awful draft. He just couldn't do that to Sam and Louis, Cannon said. So he turned to his almost-first choice and enticed Bobby Timmons away from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. And everyone concerned was very soon damn glad he did, for the cocky young pianist/composer, whose "Moanin' " had been a 1958 winner for the Blakey band, immediately came up with another one.

After breaking in their act for two weeks in Philadelphia, the quintet went to San Francisco for three weeks at the Jazz Workshop. But even before they left for the West I had been put on notice that the "whenever and wherever" I had promised was going to be then and there. The band was together; the first audience reactions to Timmons' new tune, "This Here," had convinced
Adderley that he had a hit; and what was I waiting for? If I'd had the sense and experience to know what to worry about, I'd have recognized plenty to wait for: among other things, San Francisco at that time had not a single recording studio; there were very few engineers anywhere with a command of the fledgling art of recording "live" in a club; and in any event I didn't know a single engineer in that area. But a promise is a promise, right? So I asked Dick Bock, head of the Los Angeles-based Pacific Jazz label, for advice, and he recommended a young man who, he informed me, had recently done a live recording for him in the very same club. (Dick neglected to tell me he had decided the session hadn't come out well enough to be issued.) Not to prolong the suspense: I found my way to San Francisco (incidentally beginning my still-heavy love affair with that city); I heard "This Here" for the first time (and was informed by the late Ralph Gleason that the audience reaction was that hectic every night), we recorded for a couple of nights and came up with a lovely album. Those nights were my first opportunity to really study Cannon as a bandleader, and thereby to discover the remarkable secret of his appeal.

The way I saw it, Julian was one of the most completely alive human beings I had ever encountered. Seeing and hearing him on the bandstand, you realized the several things that went to make up that aliveness: he was both figuratively and literally larger than life-sized; he was a multifaceted man and it seemed as if all those facets were constantly in evidence, churning away in front of you; and each aspect of him was consistent with every other part—so that you were automatically convinced that it was totally real and sincere, and you were instantly and permanently charmed.

That last paragraph is the emotional way of saying it; if I try real hard I can be more factual and objective. He was a big man and a joyous man. He was a player and a composer and a leader, and when someone else was soloing he was snapping his fingers and showing his enjoyment, and before and after the band's numbers he talked to the audience. (Not talking at them or just making announcements, but really talking to them and saying things about the music—some serious, some very witty.) So all that whirlwind of varied activity was always going on when he was on the stand, and it all fitted together, and you never even considered the possibility that it could be an act. Of course it wasn't; it was (to use today's cliche) just Cannon doing his thing; and part of his thing was wanting you to enjoy yourself, and you did.

His talking to the audience was then (and remained) pretty unique; in assembling that first Jazz Workshop album I somehow got the daring idea of not only including some talk but giving it the same position on record that it had in the club. So that album opened with almost a minute and a half of Julian conversing about "This Here" before you heard a note of music, and apparently it was a good idea, or at least it didn't hurt, since the album turned into a huge hit. It established Cannon and the band and the adventurous label that had gone cross-country to make the record. (And it and its imitators led, for better or worse, to a whole flood of "soul" jazz.) We stayed with the formula a lot—the band made four other "live" albums on Riverside—and years later, when he had an even bigger hit for Capitol with "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" he explained it to me as "I finally talked Capitol into recording me the right way; the way you and I used to do it." In this ego-heavy music business, how can you not love a man like that?

Well, some people could manage to not do so, I guess. There were the usual put-downs by the critics (success really doesn't automatically mean you're not playing as well as before, but . . .); and there were similar put-downs by less successful musicians. Those had the power to hurt his feelings at times, but not always; for example, what could we do but laugh at the jazz giant who said that "This Here" was nothing more than rock and roll and then quickly added that anyway it was stolen from one of his compositions.

On the whole, however, there was a lot of approval and those were good times. Riverside in the Cannonball years was a very happy place; there was an unprecedented team spirit among the musicians working for the label, and Julian was very much a leading part of that. He was, as has often been recounted, responsible for our "discovery" of Wes Montgomery: he had heard Wes in Indianapolis one night, and as soon as he got back to New York came bursting into my office insisting that "we've got to have that guy on the label." Allow me to tell you that there are hardly any performers around at any time who are going to refer to the company they are under contract to as "we." He was the kind of star who volunteered his services as a sideman (at union scale) for the record dates of men he liked and respected: Jimmy Heath, Kenny Dorham, Philly Joe Jones. He came up with the idea of his producing albums that would present either unknown newcomers or underappreciated veterans; he felt that his name might help their careers (Chuck Mangione first recorded as a Cannonball Adderley "presentation").

He was an intensely loyal man, and he inspired loyalty. In the sixteen years between the re-forming of his quintet and his death, he had only two drummers (Lou Hayes eventually being succeeded by Roy McCurdy—who had been the drummer on the first Cannonball-produced Mangione album), and not very many more bass players. There were a few more piano players: Timmons left to return to Blakey and then go out on his own; a couple of others didn't quite work out; Cannon was never able to persuade one of his major personal favorites, Wynton Kelly, to work in the band; but Joe Zawinul, who joined him in the very early '60s, stayed around for a long time.

My own strongest recollections of his loyalty relate, not too surprisingly, to when his contracts with Riverside were running out. The first time, in 1961, he was a very hot artist and we were pretty resigned to his being seduced away by major-league money. We made our best gesture—and he took it, even though it turned out to be much less than at least one major label had offered. The reason he gave, that he felt comfortable and at home among friends with Riverside, was just corny enough to be obviously true. Even more impressive was the way he behaved in the spring of '64. The label was then almost on the rocks: after the unexpected death of my partner it became clear that Riverside's financial picture was much more precarious than anyone had realized. I was fighting for survival, and losing. So Julian volunteered that, regardless of what any other companies might come up with, he'd simply extend his contract with us for another year. It could be announced as a re-signing, and obviously the news that we were retaining our top-selling artist would be a big help.

I wrestled with the idea: the main trouble was that Riverside was mortgaged up to slightly above eye-level. We were at the mercy of financial types whose shifting attitudes made it quite likely that the label was simply beyond being saved even by Cannon's ploy. It was a very strange situation: he kept offering and I kept hedging, and eventually one day I called him and said, in effect: "This is final; we're not going to be able to make it, so don't stay with us. Even if I call you tomorrow with a different story, don't pay any attention. This is the final true word: go away." Even then he was reluctant; and how many major artists can you think of that a record company would have to practically chase away with a club. (I was right, incidentally; about ten days after his contract was allowed to run out. Riverside closed its doors.)

For about eight years thereafter, we succeeded in the very tricky art of being former co-workers who remained friends. Sometimes we didn't see each other for long periods of time; on other occasions we got around to talking at great length on both musical and non-musical subjects. Most musicians I have known are (understandably enough) so wrapped up in themselves and their art that the rest of the world just doesn't hold their interest. (The polite way to describe this is by saying that artists are non-political beings,) But Cannon happened to be vitally interested in all of life; he enmeshed himself in a wide variety of activities. He was also one of the few people I have ever come across who could consistently talk as much as I do. I'd say that his old friend Pete Long and I were only partly joking when we claimed that some day we were going to run him for senator.

Cannon and I also came up with some intriguing musical ideas that we never did anything about. My favorite remains our plan to collaborate on a musical comedy based on the life of Dinah Washington. It is still easy for me to hear his vivid description of one potential scene, backstage at the Apollo Theater, with Dinah's dressing room filled with a procession of stolen-goods salesmen ("everything from hot fur coats to hot Kotex").

Eventually, fate moved our professional lives back together. I joined the Fantasy organization. Cannonball signed with Fantasy, and the company also acquired the Riverside catalog. After a while we got back to working together. He and Nat and I began by co-producing a package that was a real natural for us—new reworkings of the best material from the good old days (as far back as "This Here" and "Work Song" and "Jive Samba"). Working together again felt comfortable and good; I gave the album a title intended to reflect the comparative immortality of a man who had been a jazz star for all those years and was still going strong. But Phenix — the reference is to the legendary bird that is reborn every few hundred years out of the ashes of a self-consuming fire —  turned out to have more irony than prophecy to it. Only a few months after its completion, and while his next album remained unfinished, Julian had a stroke and, at the devastatingly young age of forty-six, was gone.

Cannon was certainly not a man without faults, but none of them were petty and the ones I was aware of were strictly self-injuring and directly connected with his huge love of life. He ate a lot (often his own food—he was a great cook) and drank a lot, and that's not really a good idea if you also happen to have high blood pressure and a touch of diabetes and a definite tendency to overweight. But there was no way in the world that he was going to scale himself down and be practical and cautious about his health. It would have been nice if he could have done so; most probably we'd still have him around now; but I'm afraid it just wasn't in his nature to play it that way.

And considering how much joy and warmth and creativity specifically came from that nature, how can any of us who knew and loved him complain too hard at the way it worked out. We can and do deeply mourn the unfair, untimely loss; but we also have the still-vital memory of him. And we have his music — and one very good thing about this music is how accurate a picture of the man it has always given. That means the music will help keep Cannonball extremely alive for us; and that's not bad at all.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Jazz from Pittsburgh

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

The following discourse on Jazz musicians congregating in and emanating from a particular city is one that could have be written about any number of places during the halcyon days of the music from about 1925-1975.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, Kansas City and many other cities joined with New Orleans, Chicago and New York as primary incubators of the music during the height of its urbanity.

For whatever reason/s, Pittsburgh is often left off the list of those cities that contributed significant artistic talent to Jazz’s growth and development.

The following piece is intended to redress that oversight and is adapted from -

The Pittsburgh Connection
November 1999 edition of The Jazzletter
Gene Lees, editor

“Scratch any Pittsburgh jazz musician, and what you get is not blood but an exudation of civic pride. These folk are what I wryly think of as the Pittsburgh nationalists, and they will immediately rattle off a list of significant players born in their native city:

Roy Eldridge, Billy May, Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Roger Humphries (who still lives there), Erroll Garner, Steve Nelson, Mary Lou Williams, Eddie Safranski, Bob Cooper, Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, and George Benson. The film composer Jerry Fielding was born there.

Some of the natives stretch it a little by including Henry Mancini in their home-boy list, but he was actually born in Cleveland and spent his childhood in West Aliquippa. But then that is a sort of suburb of the city, and he did study music in Pittsburgh, so perhaps we should let them get away with it.

"Gene Kelly was from Pittsburgh," said my friend John Heard, the bassist and artist, "and so were Maxine Sullivan, Oscar Levant, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Adolf Menjou, Dick Powell, William Powell, Michael Keaton, and Shirley Jones. Lena Home's father was the numbers king in Pittsburgh. Shall I keep going?"

Sorry I asked.

The disinterested observer could make a pretty good case for Philadelphia as a hothouse for jazz players, and Donald Byrd would run a number on you about the importance of Detroit and Cass Tech. Then there's Chicago, with Dusable High, and Brooklyn and for that matter Manhattan. Even poor oft-denigrated Los Angeles, and Jefferson High, produced a lot of great jazz players.

But of Pittsburgh: "I think it must be something in the water," said Tony Mowad of radio station WDUQ, the Duquesne University public broadcasting station. He's been a jazz disc jockey for thirty-five years. Tony is a native, needless to say.

"Sammy Nestico is from Pittsburgh," I was reminded by trombonist Grover Mitchell, now the leader of the beautifully reconstituted Count Basic band (about which more in the next issue). The touch of pride in his voice is the give-away: Grover too is from Pittsburgh.

Stanley Turrentine reminded me of another native: "A lot of guys are asleep on Dodo Marmarosa. He was a great piano player. He could play"

Stanley was one of three Turrentine brothers born in Pittsburgh. The youngest, drummer Marvin, never got the chance to make a national name for himself. He was killed in Viet Nam. The oldest of the three (there were also two sisters) made a very large international name: trumpeter, arranger, and composer Tommy Turrentine.

"He died three years ago, May 11, 1996," Stanley said. Cancer Tommy was sixty-nine. Somebody should run a statistical survey on the incidence of cancer in jazz musicians, who have spent their lives inhaling sidestream nightclub smoke.

John Heard said: "Tommy was a monster trumpet player, and he was a hell of an educator When musicians came to town, they had to pass what we called the Turrentine test, the jam sessions at Local 471. He was the guy all us kids used to go out and watch."

Tommy was Thomas Turrentine Jr. The father, Thomas Turrentine, had played saxophone with the Pittsburgh Savoy Sultans. But Stanley was born in the dark of the Depression, April 5, 1934, and his father was then working as a construction laborer. "My mother cleaned people's houses," Stanley said.

John Heard believes that a proliferation of artistic creativity, including dance, occurred in Pittsburgh for a simple reason: money. The immense amounts of money invested in the school system, the Carnegie Library, the Pittsburgh Symphony, in museums, galleries, and concerts, meant that children were exposed early and heavily to their influences. Few cities in America have enjoyed the lavish artistic endowments of Pittsburgh.

I passed John's theory on to Stanley.

"John's right," Stanley said. "Oh yeah. The arts were a priority. You had to take some kind of music appreciation class — which they've cut out now — and they'd furnish you with instruments. A lot of guys who came up with me, if it hadn't been for the school system in Pittsburgh, they wouldn't be playing today. They wouldn't have been able to afford a saxophone or trumpet. The schools had all those instruments that you could use. If you played saxophone, you could take the horn home and practice until the end of the semester

"The teachers there were excellent. I remember a teacher named Nero Davidson, a cellist. He played for the Pittsburgh Symphony. He was my high-school teacher He looked at my hands and said, 'You've got great hands for cello.' I played cello for half a semester But I didn't practice, because I was playing saxophone. I had good ears. I muddled through that. I'd go home and put the cello in the corner and grab the saxophone.

"We had all kinds of activities, there were art classes, and bands. My first band was called Four Bees and a Bop. I used to play for proms and basketball games. After the basketball games, they'd assemble in the gym and have a dance. It gave guys a chance to play.

"Oh I just wanted to play music. I wasn't exactly that big on school. Only reason I went to school was for lunch and band."

Pittsburgh was long viewed with a certain condescension as one of the blighted cities of America. The steel industries that generated all that money also fouled the air with so much smoke that, at times, streetlights would have to be turned on at midday, and at night the skies were orange with the light of coke ovens and Bessemer converters. Henry Mancini remembered that the first snowfalls would render everything white and lovely, but almost immediately the snow would turn black with soot and fly-ash.

The steel industry is long gone, the great mills lie idle and rusting. The air is clean. And Pittsburgh, which now thrives on high-tech and medical industries, is revealed as one of the most beautiful cities in America, its center on a sharp triangle where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio. Carnegie Mellon University is one of the country's best training-grounds for the arts, particularly drama, and saxophonist Nathan Davis heads the jazz department at the University of Pittsburgh. (He is an interloper, a native of Kansas City.)

The city is developing a vigorous little movie industry, and often one spots the city's dramatic backdrops in pictures. There are good images of Pittsburgh in the 1993 Bruce Willis cop movie, Striking Distance, and in the bizarre 1992 black comedy Innocent Blood, in which Robert Loggia plays a Mafia don who gets turned into one of the undead when he is bitten by a beautiful and sweet-natured French vampire. Weird picture; good views of Pittsburgh. Both films were made on location.

John Heard says Pittsburgh has "the mentality of a coal miner with culture."

Interesting town, and it seems to live in a curious cultural cocoon, separate from the rest of the country. If it were a person, I would say: It knows who it is. And doesn't care whether you do.

"When I was coming up, man," Stanley said, "there was just so much music. It was always music. Even in elementary school. Ahmad Jamal talks about Mr. James Miller. He was a piano teacher Ahmad used to take lessons from him.

"My father started me playing. I used to take lessons off Carl Alter. He was a great teacher He's a piano player now, but he was a saxophone player then."

Given that all five of the Turrentine children, including the two sisters, were given music lessons, I told Stanley that in almost every case of people, men and women alike, who have made successes in music, there seems to be a background of family support for this most uncertain of enterprises. Consider the Jones boys, Hank, Thad, and Elvin. Or the Sims boys, Zoot, Ray, and Gene; the Candolis, Pete and Conte; The Swope brothers, Earl and Rob; the Heaths, Percy, Jimmy, and Albert, and so many more.

Nodding, Stanley said, "I had my daddy's horn, a 1936 Buescher, which he gave me. That was the best horn I ever had.

"That was when I was at Herron Hills Junior High.

"We were poor. But we didn't know it. When I'd come home from school, I'd have to practice. During dinner, we would be talking about bands and musicians. It was always about music.

"The radio was our entertainment. We had games. If we were listening to Duke or Basie or Woody Herman or Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, all those guys, we'd have little tests. My dad would say, 'Who's playing trombone? Who's playing third trumpet? Who's playing first alto?'

"My father would take me to concerts like Jazz at the Philharmonic. And I'd walk within a radius of three blocks and hear about four bands, trios, quartets. There was always music in the neighborhood. And as soon as they took all the music out of the neighborhoods, I mean, it just ... ." His voice trailed off in a resigned eloquent silence. Then he resumed:

"And we used to exchange records. We used to trade the Charlie Parkers, Dizzy, Don Byas, Wardell Gray. We just listened to music all the time.

"I knew I was going to play music when I was seven. My mother said I'd hear something on the radio and I'd sit down at the piano and start playing it by ear.

"Ray Brown used to come by the house. Joe Harris, the drummer out of Pittsburgh who played with Dizzy's first big band, was around.
"I remember just as clear when Ray Brown came by and got Tommy, my brother, and took him on the road for the first time with Snookum Russell's band. Joe Harris was in that band also. It was a great band.

"When I was growing up, we had an eighteen-piece band. It was Pete Henderson's band. My brother did a lot of arranging for it. We'd hear Dizzy's arrangement of, let's say, Emanon, Manteca, and somebody would write it out.

"I was listening too. My father's favorite saxophone players
were Coleman Hawkins, Chu Berry, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Don Byas."
I said, "I have often thought Don Byas is still under-rated."

"Oh, you better believe it! I've got his picture in my office at home, beautifully framed. You know, I had the privilege of meeting him, after he came from Europe. He was playing with Art Blakey. He came to a friend of mine's, a lieutenant colonel retired. He was a big jazz fan named Bick Ryken. When I worked in Washington at the Bohemian Caverns, we would hang out.

"We went to his house, me and Don Byas, and just talked and listened to music until the wee hours of the morning. He was a great man. I was just in awe of him. The technique! He was really sick by then, and about two weeks after that he died.

"He said a lot of profound things to me that night. He felt that he made a mistake in going to Europe and staying for over thirty years. He was one of the first guys. He felt that he wasn't getting the respect here that he got over there. But he said that as he thought about it, he felt the battle was here, and he could have been a bigger influence. Don said to me that he should have made his career here. And over there he became like a local musician, and that was it.

"He was a tremendous player So many people came from him. Lucky Thompson and Benny Golson are very similar to his style of playing.

"I had all kinds of idols. Illinois Jacquet. Coleman Hawkins. Lester Young. But I wouldn't dare try to play Sonny Rollins. I wouldn't dare try to play their thing. Because ... it ain't me.

"My father told me, Put this solo on.' I'd try to play this Lester Young solo, and I'd get so frustrated. Oh man, I'd want to play it note for note. I'd try to play a Wardell Gray solo exactly. I might play the notes, but it didn't sound like Wardell.

"My father sat down and told me, 'Stanley, let me tell you something: I have yet to hear a musician that can play everything. This is a big world. There's a lot of music out there. If you look within yourself, you'll find a lot of music.'
"That kind of calmed me down. It got me out of that 'I want to be a star. Like Lester.'"

"Well your friend from Pittsburgh, Ray Brown, said, 'Nobody does everything best.'"

"No! It's impossible," Stanley said. "Look within yourself, you'll find a lot of things, that's what my father told me. That cooled me out. I'm not afraid of playing myself. As a matter of fact, that's the only way I can play."

My several days of conversation with Stanley began by happenstance in the middle of the night at a ship's rail. It was in October, aboard the S.S. Norway, on its most recent jazz cruise of the Caribbean. I was out on the balcony of my cabin, contemplating a stunning silver path of light across calm waters to-a low-hanging full moon. The rows of cabins on that top deck are separated into private units by gray plastic partitions. I was leaning on the rail, awed by the moon's display. Someone came out onto the adjacent porch, a big man, and he too stood staring at the moon. I said, "Good morning." Or maybe he did. And we introduced ourselves.

He said, "I'm Stanley Turrentine."

For whatever reason, I had never met him before, although I had certainly enjoyed his playing, big-toned, bluesy, powerful, almost forbidding. He is like that physically, too: tall, big-shouldered and big-chested. But often men of imposing physique and bearing seem to feel no need to prove manhood, and are notably gentle, even sweet, men. Stanley seems to fit that mold. John Heard, chuckling, said, "Tommy was a wild man. Stanley was much quieter."

In the course of the next few days, Stanley and I talked several times, and I repeatedly heard his current quartet, which is superb. Sometimes the conversations were in his room, sometimes on the balcony. Ahmad Jamal was in the room on the other side of mine.

"Ahmad and my brother were very good friends," Stanley said. "I'd come from school, and Ahmad would be practicing on our piano."

I asked Stanley how he came to break out of Pittsburgh, to become one of its famous expatriates.

"That was back in the Jim Crow days. At that time, Lowell Fulsome, blues guitarist, had a band. Ray Charles was the pianist and vocalist. The secretary of the union, local 471 -- separate union — called me and said they were looking for a saxophone. I was about sixteen-and-a-half years old. I decided to go.
"My Mama cried, 'Oh Stanley!' I said, 'Oh Mama, I don't wanna make you cry. This is just something I have to do.' I made sure my father wasn't there that day! He was at work. He probably would have deterred me from going. I felt that, anyway.

"I just got on the bus and left home, went on the road. We headed straight down south. It was bad."

"Woody Herman hated the south," I said.

"Well there were a lot of reasons back in those days," Stanley said. "You knew that, literally, our lives were in danger. Just for playing music. A guy put a forty-four in my face. Drunk. He said, 'Can you play the blues?'"

He laughed. "That's why I play the blues today, I think!" His laugh grew larger: "'Can you play the blues?' 'Yes, sir!' I'm still here, so obviously I could play the blues."

How anybody can laugh at such a memory is beyond me, but I've heard that kind of laughter from Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie and so many others, and I am always amazed.

Stanley said, "I was the youngest guy in the band. We had what we called a flexible bus -- held together by bailing wire and chewing gum. It broke down every hundred miles or so. We'd see a lot of strange things. We'd pull over and somebody would be hanging in a tree.

"You'd run into all kinds of crazy rules. You'd have to step off the sidewalk and walk in the gutter if some white people were walking toward you. You couldn't eat in restaurants. You couldn't stay in the hotels. We had rooming houses — sometimes! If you wanted to eat something, they had places 'For Colored Only.' It was outside the restaurant. They didn't even give you a menu. You had to eat out there. Lynchings were commonplace.

"Some of the places, even up north — I call it Up South — it was no different.

"We'd see some of these horrors. And you'd get up on the bandstand, and release it. You'd go through some trying thing. And Ray Charles would sing the blues, sing whatever he's thinking about. He doesn't say a word about what the incident was. But it's there. That was part of the experience that I had.

"How serious that bandstand is to me. It's like a safe haven to me. You get up on that bandstand, and it's very serious. That's what I tell the kids in the workshops I do. That bandstand is what we love to do. That's the way we express ourselves. I say, 'It's not the bandstand, it's getting to the bandstand.' With the little dues I paid, I can imagine what Lester and Coleman Hawkins and all those guys had to go through, 'way worse than it was for me.

"I tell the younger cats, 'Hey, man, you didn't research it. Listen to these cats. They've got some experiences. They're not in books. You can't write this stuff down. It's in the way they play. They play the pains of their experiences. You'll never get that experience. And those cats probably couldn't explain it even to themselves. I know I couldn't, because you want to forget a lot of the things you had to go through just to play music, to express yourself.

"But, you know, the good side is that it teaches you to admire things. And it teaches you not be afraid to express yourself. A lot of guys today, they want to copy all this, too much of that. They're great musicians. But you don't hear any stylists. They read, they've got all the blackboard knowledge, but you hear one piano player, or one trumpet player, they're all playing the same thing — to me. You can't distinguish one from another.

"After that job, I came back to Pittsburgh. I didn't want my mother and father to see me without money. Sometimes we went on gigs and the promoter left with the money. I went through all of the usual stuff. I wouldn't go home until I had something new or some present for them, to try to show them: 'See, Mom, I'm doin' okay.'

"I stayed in Pittsburgh for a while, working around in bands. Then me and my brother moved to Cleveland. He started working with Gaye Cross. Coltrane was with the band. I was working in a band with Foots Thomas. And then I used to occasionally get some gigs with Tadd Dameron. Nobody wrote like him. He had a quartet or quintet. Then 'Trane left Cleveland and went with Earl Bostic, and later when he went with Johnny Hodges, he recommended me to Bostic. We traveled the chittlin' circuit. Walking the bar, and entertaining the people."

I mentioned that Benny Golson had described walking the bar, and said that his friend John Coltrane did it too.

"Everybody did it," Stanley said. "You did if you wanted to work! That was part of it. You had to entertain the people. I stayed with Earl for three years and then came home, and about two years after that I had to go into the army. I was in the 158th Army band for two years, stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky."

"Weren't Cannonball Adderley and Junior Mance in that band?"

"Not in that band. They were in it before me. Nat Adderley had been in that band too. And then, when I got out of the Army, in 1958, Max Roach was playing in Pittsburgh at the Crawford Grill. He had Art Davis on bass, and Julian Priester, and George Coleman, and I can't remember who the trumpet player was. The trumpet player, and George Coleman, and Art Davis left the band. Max had to replace them. He called my brother, and my brother suggested me and Bobby Boswell, another bass player out of Pittsburgh. And we joined Max. That's when I really got national and international acclaim. We played in New York, we traveled to Europe, we started making records.

"I stayed with Max about two years. So I got on the New York scene. I got married and had my first child, Sherry, in 1959. I left Max and went to Philadelphia. My wife was from Philadelphia. We moved to a section of Philadelphia called Germantown.

"Jimmy Smith, the organist, lived about two doors down. One day I was coming out the door, and he was coming out his door, and he said, 'Hey, man, you wanna make a record?' Just like that. I'd known him for quite a while. When he'd come to Pittsburgh, I'd come and play with him. We got to be pretty good friends. I just jammed with him and hung out with him at the time. So when he said, 'You wanna make a record?' I said, 'Yeah.'

"We jumped in his car, and went up to Rudy Van Gelder's in Englewood Cliffs in New Jersey and recorded. He had built the new studio by then."

"And you couldn't smoke in it," I said.

Stanley said, "Well you could smoke in the studio, but you couldn't smoke in the control room."

"I asked Rudy why, and he said that that stuff gets into the equipment. And of course it does. If you smoke, look at the windshield of your car and imagine what gets into your lungs."

"You couldn't smoke there," Stanley said, "and you couldn't touch nothing.

"He didn't have an assistant, as engineers usually do. He did everything. He'd have an eighteen-piece band, he did the whole thing.

"Well we went up to Rudy's and made a recording. It was called Midnight Special, and it was a hit for Jimmy. I made about five albums in that period.

"Then Alfred Lion approached me. He wanted to record me. I started recording with Blue Note and stayed about fifteen years. They've put those records out on CD now. The only way I found out was from a little kid. I was playing a festival in California. I think it was at Long Beach. A kid came up to me with about ten CDs. He said, 'Oh, Mr. Turrentine! Would you autograph these — your new CDs?' And I looked at them, and there were things from 1960, 1964. But they were new to that kid."

I said, "And you're put in the position of being in competition with yourself. Your old records are competing with your new records."

"You know what? I don't mind that," Stanley said.

"So long as you get your royalties."

"They have to give them to you, if you know. But they're not going to let you know. You have to find out."

"In the immortal words of Henry Mancini, 'Do not ask and ye shall not receive.'
"Receive," Stanley said in unison. "Right. So you have to watch. I've got a great entertainment lawyer.

"So they released this stuff, and this kid came to me, and the records were new to him."

The professional association that followed his period with Max Roach would prove to be one of the longest of Stanley's life; and it became personal as well: that with organist Shirley Scott, whom he married.

"I was living in Philadelphia," Stanley said. "Just finished a record date with Jimmy Smith. Lockjaw Davis had left Shirley's trio. Arthur Edgehill was on drums. I replaced Lockjaw.

"My relationship with Shirley lasted for thirteen years — and three children, three daughters. We got together in 1960. We traveled all over.

"Shirley recorded for Prestige and I was recording for Blue Note. Sometimes I would be on her record. My name would be Stan Turner. When she recorded with me, she would be Little Miss Cotton."

(Two of these collaborations with Shirley Scott are available on Prestige CDs: Soul Shoutin', PRCD-24142-2, and Legends of Acid Jazz, PRCD-24200-2. Prestige is now part of the Fantasy group. Stanley also recorded for Fantasy for a time, starting in 1974. Three albums are available on that label: Pieces of Dreams, OJCCD-831-2, Everybody Come on Out, OJCCD-911-2, and The Best of Mr. T, FCD-7708-2.)

"Oh man, Shirley was phenomenal," Stanley said. "She was very serious about the organ and about music. She had her own way of approach. We had a great time.
"After Shirley — that was 1971 — I started to record for Creed Taylor at CTI."

That association began at a dark time in Stanley's life. He and Shirley had been divorced. He was facing some financial reverses. And he had no record contract. One day the phone rang. A man's voice said that this was Creed Taylor. He wanted to know whether Stanley might be interested in recording for his label, CTI. With an inner sigh, Stanley said yes, and Creed asked if Stanley could come to his office next day for a meeting.

I checked with Creed about that first encounter Creed said he was nervous about meeting Stanley, assuming, as we are all prone to do, that the music reflected the personality of the man. Creed had been listening a lot to the Blue Note records. Creed said:

"He's completely individual. It's the voice of Stanley Turrentine, and nobody could imitate the aggressive melodic magnificence of Stanley's playing. I loved it. And I loved the stuff he'd done with Jimmy Smith and Shirley. He's such a powerful voice on the instrument, and I anticipated that the personality to follow would be: Look out! He's the antithesis, for example, of Paul Desmond. Stanley was not at all what I anticipated."

Stanley arrived at Creed's office in Rockefeller Center. I can easily imagine the meeting. Creed is a shy, reticent man, difficult to know at first, seemingly reserved and distant, but warm and considerate when you get past that. Stanley told me he went into that meeting in a state of depression, telling Creed he was facing some financial problems. Creed asked him how much it would take to ease them. Stanley gave him a figure. Creed wrote him a check and asked how soon they could get into the studio.

They were in the Van Gelder studio in Englewood Cliffs the following week, beginning a relationship that both men remember with warmth — a highly successful relationship.

"We made a record called Sugar and it was a hit," Stanley said. "Sugar, the title track, was his tune. "I've had a band ever since then.

"Creed was a wonderful producer, a great producer. I think he set a precedent for the music. Even the packaging. His covers were works of art. As a matter of fact, the covers sold as art. Packaging had never been done like that. And he had a CTI sound.

"And look at the people he had in that stable during the time I was there: Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Grover Washington, Freddie Hubbard, Jack De Johnette, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Hank Crawford, Esther Phillips, Milton Nascimento, Airto, Deodato. Oh man, it was just tremendous."

I told Stanley that one of the things I had noticed about Creed, during many of the recording sessions I attended with him, and sometimes worked on, was his capacity seemingly to ignore the clock and its measure of mounting expenses. He never let the musicians sense anxiety. His wife told me that this tore him up inside, and the tension was released only when he got home.

Stanley said, "He is so invisible! Did you ever notice that there are not many photographs of Creed? He's always in the background. Away from it. So many of the other producers, they want to be seen.

"I'd go into the studio sometimes, and record. No strings or anything. I'd go on the road and he'd hire Don Sebesky or somebody to add the strings. Or Chico O'Farrill to put brass arrangements behind it. Or Thad Jones. A lot of people got a little antsy about him doing that. I figured it helped me. It enhanced the records. I made a lot of albums for him. Maybe seven or eight. He was a music guy. There are no more cats out there like that. He loved the music. He loved the guys he was interested in. He heard them and tried to enhance what they were doing. He had such great taste. And we were all on that label at the same time.

(In the continuing process of corporate megamergers, the Turrentine CTI records have become the property of Sony-Columbia, and they are unavailable, as, for that matter, is that entire excellent CTI catalogue.)

"The record companies today are something," Stanley said. "There are no more music people in the business. They're just accountants and lawyers. The musicians are just numbers. How many records do they sell? They don't even have the courtesy to send you copies of your own albums.

"My wife called one of the record companies. She got the secretary of the vice president. She wanted to order some of my records. The girl said, 'Who's the artist you want to get? She said, 'Stanley Turrentine.' She said, 'Who?' That's just one of the things.

"But you know something? I think the Internet is going to bring some justice to the record companies. They're running scared now.

"I think the younger players, those coming up today, have got more schooling than most of the guys I know, as far as music is concerned.

"But you can't read your press releases all the time." He laughed his warm laugh.

"And you can't believe what you read in the press. If you start believing that's what you are, then your attitude changes.

"I'm not afraid to be myself, good, bad, or indifferent."

I said, "We were talking the other night about Dizzy's generation, who saw the value of entertaining the audience."

"Oh yes. Well you know, Dizzy was just a natural. He was a genius as a musician. We all know that. But, as far as knowing how to read an audience, that's very difficult to do, and Dizzy could do that at the snap of a finger. He could look over an audience and know exactly what to play. And the audience, all of a sudden, unbeknownst to them, were all with it.

"There was another cat that did that, that I worked with: Earl Bostic. I don't care how many thousands of people he would be playing for, it seemed to me that he'd just look them over from the stage and knew exactly what to play. That's what I am trying to learn, continually trying to do. Because that's part of playing. I think. You have to be entertaining people some kind of way, you know what I mean? I mean a lot of cats get up there and play snakes, play all their wares. And they can't get a gig.

"Most of the people who made it knew how to entertain. Look at Duke Ellington. He was a master at reading the audience. How to capture audiences! Basic, Jimmie Lunceford. Oh man. Andy Kirk. All these cats.

"When I get up on the bandstand, even me — " it was as if he were embarrassed to have mentioned himself so soon after these others " — I say, 'Hey, let's have some fun.' And that's what we try to convey. And the audience will start to have fun too. You can't fool 'em. There are many things we are selling. Sound, first, to me. This is just my opinion, it might be wrong. I've been wrong many times. Anyhow. Sound, feeling, and emotion. A lot of people think feeling and emotion are the same thing. That's not necessarily true in playing. Not as far as I'm concerned. I've seen cats that could play with feeling but no emotion, and cats who could play with emotion and no feeling.

"You don't have to be a Juilliard graduate to figure out those three things: sound, feeling, and emotion. That's what we're selling out there. The layman knows these three things. Let's face it, man. A lot of cats are playing a lot of stuff, or think they are. And if you don't ring that cash register, you'll find you'll be playing nowhere. This is still a business. And Dizzy and those cats, Miles, all of them, took it to the max. And people used to go in to see Miles to see what was he going to do next. When was he going to turn his back? Or is Monk going to stand up from the piano and just start dancing? There are all kinds of ways.

"But the ability to read the audience is a very important thing."

Stanley does it well. And his enthusiasm and that of the members of his current quartet communicate to an audience. The rhythm section comprises bassist Paul Thompson, at twenty-four the youngest in the group, drummer Lenny Robinson, and pianist David Budway. When Stanley is playing the head of a tune, or taking his own solo, he strides the bandstand (he has one of those tiny microphones in front of the bell of his tenor) with the authority of a captain on the bridge of a ship. When he isn't soloing, he'll sit down on a stool and listen with smiling satisfaction to the others. Even then, he cannot keep from moving. He tends to rock his hips back and forth on the stool, reminding me of a phrase I got from actor George Grizzard in 1959. We had spent some time hanging out in Paris together that year. George came home some months ahead of me, and he was appearing in The Disenchanted on Broadway with Jason Robards Jr. I called him as soon as I got off the boat in New York. He invited me to the play, and afterwards he asked what I wanted on this, my first night home. I said, "A real American hamburger and some jazz!" We went to P.J.'s for the first and several joints for the latter. In one club or another, I can't remember which, some group was really cooking, and George coined a phrase that has stuck with me. He called it "Good old ass-shakin' jazz."

Watching Stanley in delighted involuntary motion, I thought of that phrase.
I was particularly struck by the work of David Budway. There was something radically different about it. He is a highly percussive player, a really loud pianist, but his playing brought to mind something Buddy Rich once said: "There is a musical way to play loud and an unmusical way." Budway's percussive approach to playing really caught my ear I was listening to it with Tony Mowad, the aforementioned jazz broadcaster Tony is a stocky, husky man with a mustache and deep-toned skin. "You know," Tony said with the pride peculiar to Pittsburgh people, "David is my cousin." And, he said, the outstanding young guitarist Ron Affif, now living in Los Angeles, is another cousin, also born, like David Budway, in Pittsburgh. (Indeed, including Stanley, three quarters of the quartet is from Pittsburgh.)

Something struck me then. I said, "Tony, what's your ethnic background?"

He said, "Lebanese."

"Then that may explain it."

I have long held a theory, one that Gerry Mulligan shared, that white American jazz musicians tend to play with a stylistic influence of the music of their national origins. The Italians play very Italian, the Irish play very Irish — consider Mulligan and Zoot Sims — and so forth. Paul Motian is Armenian, and he told me that he grew up listening to the complex polyrhythms of Armenian music. This is hardly a universal principle, but it is an interesting insight into styles. At least Gerry Mulligan thought so, and I do.

And so. Was I hearing an Arabic influence in David Budway's playing? I asked him.

"Big time!" he said without hesitation.

Budway is a highly-trained classical pianist, little known nationally or internationally, because he chose until recently, when he moved to New York, to remain in Pittsburgh, teaching classical piano at Carnegie Mellon University and jazz and classical piano at Duquesne and playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He is yet another to shatter the myth of irreconcilable difference between jazz and classical music, which persists in spite of the careers of Mel Powell, Keith Jarrett, Joe Wilder, John Clayton, and many more. He has completed two as-yet unreleased classical albums with Hubert Laws, one devoted to all the Bach flute sonatas, the other to "impressionist" composers including Poulenc and Ravel.

His father, David told me, played "classical" violin but also toured with his brother, David's uncle, playing Arabic music. "I called my father the Arabic Bird," David said. David soaked in this music, at home and on the Lebanese radio station he listened to. "I got used to those Arabic rhythms, things like 9/8 and 10/4, the stuff was all over the place," David said.

And although the piano hardly lends itself to the melismatic practices of Arabic vocal music, David's playing does hint at Arabic minor-scale practices. Primarily, however, it is his rhythmic concept that seems so Arabic to my ears.

Stanley clearly delights in the group, as they do in each other. "I have a chance to play with some nice young musicians," Stanley said. "All the cats are nice. They're gentlemen. We have a good time. We all listen to each other. That's what makes it fun. We're trying to play together."

Stanley remains in close contact with his daughters, and he is concerned for the fragile health of his ex-wife, Shirley Scott. He has married again. "Three times and I finally got it right," he said.

"I think this is one of the happiest times of my life."

Unfortunately, Stanley passed away in 2000, a year after this article was published.