Goodbye Phoebe and Hello Timme
A couple of Armstrong specials, "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," by a small group with guest Bob Stewart on tuba, and "Mahogany Hall Stomp," with good short Gardner à la J.C. Higginbotham and Wynton doing well in the lead passages, though having one of his curiously corny moments in the midst of the solo (this happens, I think, when he strives to be authentic). He was fine, however, in leading the concluding parade through the hall, headed for outside and a turnaround Columbus Circle, starting with "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" and ending with "Didn't He (rather, She) Ramble." Phoebe sure did!
Kicking Off a Visit
My man Fradley Garner is not editing me this time because he left his adopted Denmark and returned to native haunts in order to promote the Timme Rosenkrantz autobiography, Harlem Jazz Adventures, published earlier this year by Scarecrow Press. [Uh-uh, DannyI came flyin' home just in time to add a few touches and names, a title and subheads, and zing this over to All About Jazz. Your grateful editor]
I had the pleasure of Frad's company and that of the Jersey Jazz editorial team of The Tony Mottola Recording Ensemble and Linda Lobdell, plus an auld acquaintance, ex-Rutgers University- Newark philosophy professor Robinson Lilienthal, at lunch at Hobby's, downtown Newark's sole surviving Jewish deli, to kick off the visit in a style befitting the Newark native Fradley is, followed by the recording, at nearby WBGO studios, of a Jazz from the Archives show plugging the book.
With the kind cooperation of two notable bandleaders, Vince Giordano and David Ostwald, further plugging was done at their respective New York venues: Sofia's Restaurant at the Edison Hotel for Vince's Nighthawks, and Birdland, no longer at "the jazz corner of the world," where David's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band had celebrated its 12th year of Wednesdays just the week before.
At Sofia's, where there is more open space (there's a dance floor, as you should know), Vince arranged for a couple of chairs up front, and Fradley read a chapter (abridged) from the book, about Timme's first encounter with Mezz Mezzrow and the herbal product for which he was famous, to much laughter from the audience. I was once again impressed with just how good the Nighthawks areat their special game, in the same class as the Lincoln Center band. I'll have more to say about them soon.
At Birdland, the reading had to be done from the bandstand, with me holding the mic, but it worked out okay. Fradley this time rendered a foreshortened chapter about Benny Goodman's first band, at Billy Rose's Music Hall, where Timme worked as a gigolo so he could hear them for a whole month. You have to read this bookGoogle jazzbaron.com! The band spotted a first: Australian clarinetist and alto saxophonist Adrian Cunningham, who scored with Johnny Hodges' "Jeep's Blues."
Ohone of the new things I learned about Fradley is that he knows the words to "I Double Dare You." Just another feather in his cap!