Sex and the Jazz Musician: The Brutal Truth!
For those of you who might want to know a little more about what makes Mort Weiss run, I strongly suggest that you read the profile on me, archived on AAJ, Mort to Come, by the very astute and sensitiveSammy Stein. Even though I had fed him information during the time he was putting the work together, after I read it (I didn't want to see any of it as it developed) I just sat in front of my Mac desk topoh say for about four or five minutesjust sitting there staring at the screenand reread it once more. After I was put to bed that night, I found out later that my wife Jeanne had hidden everything sharp or with a point on same, substituting crayons for pens and pencils. Everything reverted back to normal for us in about two or three days. Other than that, it wasn't that interesting to me. Hummph! Go ahead give it a shotbut adults, don't try what you read at home!
Speaking of that profile, Mort To Come, the picture that was used of me at the top of the piece was great! It extolled the virtues and the deep feeling of the very soul of the man and his gestalt of emotion and sensitivity for the entire world, and all of mankind who huddle together for reassurance on this vale of tears and laughter. Look at his eye, the laugh and tear lines of having lived a Faustian mythological life of expectation, only to be dashed against the stones of reality again and again that border the seas of torment and despair. Yet, upon further reflection, one (a woman's most likely) would see the vulnerability of a little boy asking to beaaaawwww sh@t! Dammmit! I'm freakin' looking at a picture of Peter Brötzmann. Awww, man!
On to other things.
The weekend that I worked with sax legend Teddy Edwards we walked the line. Oh, we surely did. It was sometime during 1964, Teddy and I were picketing a burlesque club in Whittier, California, a small town just east of Los Angeles still within the jurisdiction of Musicians Union Local 47. It was just the two of us and it paid eight dollars an hour, four hours each night. Yeah, the union still had power back thenpre The Beatles and the Class of '65 mentalities that were to prevail. It was cold. Yes, it can get rather cool at night in southern California. Teddy wanted a drink of Scotch but he had a stomach ulcer and was afraid to aggravate the condition with a taste. I was grooving along with a short dog of T-Bird and dropping an occasional Bennie, so I was cool. Occasionally we'd look in the window of the room and dig one of the strippers and the scab band (drums, tenor sax and piano), steadily fucking up "Harlem Nocturne," and like that. Finally, Teddy goes in and orders and gets a glass of milk with a shot of Scotch in it and sits back and digs. After all, he had become a customer. I carried both signs for the moment.
Oh, yeah. Aside from being a great musician, Teddy was as nice a cat as could bea gentleman. We knew each other from hanging at local 47 and playing at the many sessions in and around L.A. at the time. A must read: A Fireside Chat with Teddy Edwards, on AAJ.
Don Joham. Never heard of himhave you? He was just the world's greatest jazz drummer, and a nice cat. What I've just said about Don was felt among all of us cats and any one that heard him play and or played with him, be they established jazz personalities or fans that were hip to the haps in and around Hollywood and Los Angeles circa 1957-1965. When Don walked into a club that was a known session place, the fuckin,' room lit upas in "Hey, Don- - all right manhow ya doin'ya wanna play?"meaning bypassing some cats that had been waiting hours to get on the stand.
Don, always with a smile on his face would start to mingle, shaking hands and doin' the back and forth verbal dance that all us cats did, back in the daywe were a like minded group that worshiped the ground that the main cats walked on- - and we were trying very hard to learn our craft. I saw little (if any) backstabbing and/or dissing of any kind back in that day. Oh, yeah, when you were on the stand playing "Cherokee" way up and y' all were taking fours or eights and the shit was popping, one tried one's best to burn the cat's shit that came before you. Oh, yeah, that's where you learned to blow.