It was a Sunday afternoon when Jimmy and I sat down for an interview at the old Half Note on the corner of Hudson and Spring Streets. Jimmy frequently performed there, feeling comfortable in the unpretentious decor and informal atmosphere created by the Canterino family, who owned it.
If memory serves me right, it was 1968 and the film you hear me refer to at the beginning of the interview is Gordon Parks' The Learning Tree, which had yet to be released. I had been on the air at WBAI a couple of years earlier, playing some of Jimmy's records and talking about him, when Gordon Parks called. He told me that he was in the early stages of turning his book into a film and that hearing Jimmy had given him the idea to cast him as Chappie Logan, a singing saloonkeeper. He needed to know how he could get in touch with Jimmy, and that's how I became a one-line footnote in Jimmy's film career.
|Recording with Brubeck - 1960|
As the interview winds up, you will hear someone very loudly announce the presence of trombonist Al Grey and Fred Miles, a somewhat eccentric record producer from Philadelphia. Then there's Patsy Wilkins, I don't know who she was nor where she came from, but she was in luck that afternoon, winning one of Jimmy's many albums in the door prize drawing. So, with competition from the bandstand, the interview does not end gracefully, but think of it as a Half Note moment—atmosphere.