If this is your first visit, welcome to my blog of memories and observations. If you wish to be notified of new posts, enter an e-mail address above, and click on "Submit." As we move through a seventh year of this venture, I thank all who have made regular visits, as well as fellow bloggers who have found Stomp Off worth linking to. Doing this sort of thing is time-consuming, but I try to post fresh material at least once a week—let me know what you think. There is a Commentary option at the end of each post and a Guest Book can be reached by scrolling down and clicking on the quill image. I welcome your observations, reaction and/or suggestions in either spot—or both. As for blog content, the most current posts are on the home page, starting at the top. Earlier items are listed by month, year and title in the archive index. To zero in on a particular key word or subject, use the search option that is located directly beneath the blog's masthead. Most images can be enlarged with a mouse click, and there are links to some of my favorite blogs, etc. Since visitors have come from 150 countries, a translator with numerous languages is located below. You can at any time revert to English with a click at the top left of this page:

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Lil Armstrong interview - 1 of 3

As anyone who has given my blog a modest going-over knows by now, Lil Hardin Armstrong and I were good friends in the last ten years of her life. We met in September of 1961, when I was in Chicago producing a series of session for Riverside Records' "Living Legends" series, a continuation of a project started in New Orleans nine months earlier. I have posted my recollections and reflections on both trips elsewhere on this blog. You will find links at the bottom of this one.

This time I am posting the first of three tape reels containing a very casual audio interview with Lil, done in 1968 as an initial step in our collaboration on her autobiography. As you may know, unforeseen circumstances halted that project and I have already posted a few excerpts from the manuscript here. I recently came upon this tape and thought it might be of interest, although Lil reminisced about some of the same things for Bill Grauer in 1956. That became a Riverside LP called "Satchmo and Me," which may be difficult to obtain today. Anyway, the Grauer interview was heavily edited and it had unnecessary narrative bridges. A transcript of that release has since been made available for $14 by someone trying to cash in on it. This interview, on the other hand, is unexpurgated and free.

Here is a link to Part 2 of this three-part interview.

Additional links that pertain to Lil:

The Jones Music Store, Jelly Roll, and Handsome Men
Louis, Lil, and the Little Gangster


Clifford Jordan Quartet The Highest Mountain

Here is the last of three performances by the late Clifford Jordan, recorded during a live broadcast from WBAI as the sun rose over New York City. The tune originally appeared on Jordan's Atlantic album, "These are My Roots," a tribute to Leadbelly, which was released that same month. He subsequently recorded it for the Steeplechase label. 

Clifford was also one of the many musicians who took command of a two-hour Saturday afternoon time slot that had a long line of guest hosts from the jazz scene. They could spend the two hours as they wished. Some came alone, with a pile of albums, others brought friends along—Eddie Condon dragged George Wettling in for an absorbing dialogue and some good music, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis shared the time, talking—among other subjects—about the big band they had just started, then there were afternoons with John Coltrane, Toshiko (then) Mariano, Zoot Sims, Blue Mitchell, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and many others. Most of them played records or tapes, interspersed with reminiscences and opinions, but Bill Dixon spent the entire two hours ranting against WBAI, which he said had a policy of not playing "avant garde" jazz. He was very wrong and he wasted two hours of air time that he could have spent playing the most avant garde sounds ever heard. Oh, well.
I think we represented jazz better than any other New York station at the time, and when it came to helping us out, the jazz community was overwhelmingly responsive. Take, for instance, the night of December 27, 1965, when an amazing number of jazz performers showed up to play for us at the Village Gate. The crowd was so big that Art D'Lugoff had to open another room, the Top of the Gate, and each of these great musicians appeared in both places! Monk's manager, Jules Colomby, helped get it all together. Monk came early and fell asleep in the kitchen—it was a somewhat hectic but memorable night. They don't do that for WBAI anymore, and the station has only its management to blame for that. The spirit is gone, as is the energy that once was generated by enthusiasm and noble purpose.

Don't get me started on that! Click here and hear the Clifford Jordan Quintet do its thing for WBAI.

Jimmy Rushing at Pep's

It was in 1959 that I first met Jimmy Rushing. He was appearing at Pep's Lounge, a popular jazz spot at Broad and South Streets in Philadelphia, I was at WHAT-FM, the city's 24/7 jazz station. Between Pep's and The Showboat Lounge, there was rarely a week when one could not catch a major jazz act in center city, so I tried to get interviews as often as I could, but not always at the clubs. This was a club interview, made in the small wreck of a dressing room that was reserved for the headliners and showed the owner's disrespect. You will hear juke box music of the day (organs were in vogue) seeping through the thin wall that separated Pep's from a bargain eatery next door. When I sat down with Billie Holiday in that same room, she snapped her fingers and sang to the bass line somebody's quarter had paid for. Billie also showed me how that ball of facial tissue next to her makeup box was loaded with razor blades—just in case. I thought that to be rather unusual, but it really wasn't—women had to be tough to survive on the road in those days. Alberta Hunter used to walk around looking like a New York bag lady, with a shopping bag in each hand, and one day she showed me how she always had a her grip around a cloth-covered ice pick—just in case.

Jimmy and I in dressing room at Vassar - 1961
Back to Jimmy Rushing. I would later get to know very well, but this was our first meeting. He talks about his early years and his first trip to England, which had occurred the year before. He met Humphrey Lyttleton and George Melly, and had his first—perhaps only—encounter with skiffle, which he likened to hillbilly. We also talk about Billie Holiday and how her voice underwent a change in her last years. I should mention that I have long since reversed my opinion on that—what I once identified as "deterioration" was really not that. Billie's voice simply absorbed the the hurt and abuse of years spent being mistreated by her men, her government, and herself. The smile was gone, the soul remained.

Here and there, you will hear references to recordings that I later spliced into the tape, but removed from this post to comply with copyright laws—the interview itself is intact.

About a year later, just two days away from 1960, Jimmy and I sat down for another interview, this time at the legendary Half Note, in the bowels of Manhattan. I will post that soon, but now I hope you find something interesting in this one. Please post a comment and let me know what you think. 


Hatred in America

The Un-American "Mosque" Controversy
Yesterday a section of my city turned ugly. Spurred on by that wing of the GOP that calls itself Fox News, hate mongers like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Sarah Palin, and cowardly Democrats like Harry Reid and all who have spoken with their silence. They came to lower Manhattan and, in a sense, that is what they did. There was a much smaller, disorganized chorus of decent people there, too—they had come to counter the ugliness, but were outnumbered and their words drowned out by amplifiers and music. The latter included Sousa, for these misguided anti-Americans delude themselves into thinking that their intolerance and venom is patriotic. They also played Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, which I am sure did not sit well with Mr. Springsteen.

As might be expected, the TV coverage bared an equally misguided press—not that these pretend journalists necessarily sympathized with the bigots, but he who shouts the loudest gets the attention. So, we saw much footage of ugliness, people who never stopped to think, people who seemed unaware of the facts: The proposed community center will not be a mosque any more than a "Y" with a chapel is a church; if "Ground Zero" is "hallowed ground," it is also so to the many innocent Muslims who were victims of the 9/11 attacks; if a building containing an area for religious worship is a sacrilege, why is there no protests in the area over the presence of a strip club, which seems to be doing rather well?

As I viewed the TV footage—that sea of human ugliness waving racist, hateful signs at the cameras—a much earlier picture came to mind, one that showed black bodies at the end of a rope and a milling crowd of smiling white faces taking obvious pleasure from an unspeakably inhuman act. Time has not blurred that despicable image, nor should it, but we saw a reenactment of sorts in downtown Manhattan on a rainy Sunday. Physically, the still warm bodies were not there, but you knew that they were in the minds of many—you could see that in their faces.

Harry Reid, Archbishop Dolan, Howard Dean and other well-meaning "good guys" have stepped forward to suggest that the Islam community center be built elsewhere, but they are  also guilty of fomenting the ugliness that we are seeing all over the country. Yes, this protest against building a "mosque" was launched under the pretense of "protecting sacred ground," but why, then, are these screams of bigotry and religious intolerance being raised in many other parts of the country? Why do the Ugly Americans not want to see any mosques, anywhere? That's because the "Ground Zero" protest movement was just an excuse—the object of all this hatred is not a building, it is a people and its beliefs. It is also, in many ways, the outrage over having a man of color at the country's helm.

I was going to relegate Keith Olbermann's commentary to the blog archive today, but what I saw on my TV screen yesterday tells me that it needs to stay here longer. In fact, I will add to this post a link to Frank Rich's op-ed from Sunday's NY Times, How Fox Betrayed Petraeus—it is characteristically perceptive.


Ronnie Matthews' "Dorian" - 1965

Here is another performance by pianist Ronnie Matthews, taken from the first fund-raising marathon held in July, 1965 by New York listener-sponsored radio station, WBAI. This time, he is joined by bassist Michael Fleming and drummer J. C. Moses. The voice you hear at the very end belongs to writer A. B.Spellman, who was at that time working on his noteworthy book, Four Lives in the Bebop Business.

Here is a link to a previously posted Matthews performance, a solo version of Duke Ellington's Prelude to a Kiss. It is from that same marathon.


Clifford Jordan Quartet @ WBAI, 1965

Here is another performance by Clifford Jordan, Ronnie Matthews, Eddie Kahn and J.C. Moses recorded in WBAI's tiny 30 East 39th Street studio during the station's first fun-raising marathon, July 1965. On the right is a New York Times editorial that appeared in the July 7, 1965 issue a few days after the marathon ended and we returned to normal programing. I wonder if the writer of that editorial is still around and how he would react to the station as it sounds today—not positively, I suspect. You can still hear good things at 99.5, but the station is currently run by people who lack the kind of integrity and intellect that made WBAI stand out. It is truly a shame and while you are probably tired of reading my observations regarding the decay of an extraordinary radio station, I hope you understand.

As I tune in and hear scam artists pushing their wares to an unsuspecting listenership, I am reminded of a fable written by the late Gene Lees for the pages of Stereo Review. It was many years ago and I wish I could bring it to you here, but I haven't a copy, so I will give you the gist of it, in my own words.

Gene's story was about a very fine restaurant, a singular establishment known for its exquisite cuisine. It was also about the new owners of that restaurant and how they gradually altered the menu until the sauce—which no longer contained that decisive dash of Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot—had a brand name. Poured on thick, it all but obliterated a chopped patty that now sat on plates once occupied by exquisite slices of choice Wagyu. Ah, that steak! It lingered in one's memory and the very thought still brought moisture to one's mouth.

The establishment had not changed its name, finding it advantageous to coast on its reputation, but as the cuisine morphed from the memorable to the mundane, so had the patronage and munchies for the masses had a nice ring to it at the cash register.

The story brought in much mail and while most readers wondered what it was doing in Stereo Review, others actually got it. This, they surmised, was a tale inspired by Columbia Records. Indeed, it was, and some people at Blackrock were none too pleased.

Here is Clifford Jordan with a sample of what brought us the pledges and money 45 years ago. Hearing original music played live by extraordinary performers conveyed the message: WBAI was no ordinary radio station. That said it all, and it was very real.There was no need to push fake cures or tabloid-type stories.   


Teo Macero - 1970 interview

In preparation for a Saturday Review cover story on Miles Davis, I conducted numerous interviews, including this one with the late Teo Macero, who for many years was Miles' producer at Columbia Records. At the time of this phone interview (the week of his 45th birthday, October, 1970), Teo was working with Miles on the album "Live - Evil," and I was at that time spending my nights working on Bessie Smith reissues in the same building, Columbia studios on East 52nd Street. Teo's office at Blackrock, the CBS building on Sixth Avenue, adjoined John Hammond's, so we also saw much of each other there. He was an interesting man, accomplished, intelligent, humorous, and, when it came to record producing: awesome. If you want to know more about Teo's achievements and life, you will find it here, at Wikipedia.

There was a time when producing a Miles Davis session was a fairly orthodox task. There were sessions, great music was recorded, and little—if anything—needed to be done with it in terms of editing. So, it was basically a matter of having a good ear and being on the same wavelength as Miles was. By the Seventies, trends and technology had changed the way we approached album making, and when I say that I was awed by Teo's work it is because he and Miles had their own way of doing it. I used to see Teo with stacks of tape reels where most of us would rarely leave a session with more than four or five. I was also intrigued by the fact that there were no titles scribbled on the tape boxes, just numbers and what appeared to be code words. You will hear Teo talk about that in this interview. The amazing thing was that these many tapes, with their mysteriously identified bits and pieces eventually became memorable albums that made perfect sense and took the music way out of the box.

The tape runs about 36 minutes and abruptly cuts off when the cassette reaches the end. By that time,the interview had become more of a conversation and it, too, was essentially over, so you are not missing anything.

If you wish to read the Saturday Review cover story on Miles that resulted from this and other interviews, here is a link to My Lunch with Miles.

As always, I appreciate comments—favorable or not, so please use that option (below). I also thank John Francis on the other Coast, who transferred the cassette to disc and thus made this blog entry possible.


Bobby Scott: Setting the Record Straight

In reviewing one of Bobby Scott's albums for Stereo Review—I think it was "For Sentimental Reasons"—I mentioned how he had done much work for Mercury Records during the period when Quincy Jones was the label's Musical Director and how he had thus become a victim of a form of credit theft. Artistic credit, that is.

The magazine received several cards and letters suggesting that I was a bitter man who made this up. Quincy was a cool dude and his talent was the envy of many, one writer maintained. The fact is that I was right, Quincy was indeed riding into the spotlight on the tails of more talented people. I recall when he returned from Paris with his big band, in 1960, Bill Grauer was shocked to hear that the band would be appearing at Basin Street East in New York and that nobody was throwing a press party. This was wrong, he said, so he threw one for Quincy—never mind that the band had nothing to do with Riverside Records.

Anyway, one of Quincy's band members was Melba Liston, a wonderful player and arranger who never received the recognition her talent deserved. I got to know her when she began writing and recording for Riverside. We were having a drink one night and, when our glasses needed a refill, Melba told me that she had written some of the band's charts, but that Quincy took the credit. I knew that he was a pedestrian trumpet player, I had heard that myself in 1953, when he came to Copenhagen with Lionel Hampton, but I had more recently heard his writing ability praised. Now I began to wonder and I heard many more such stories after Quincy went with Mercury Records.

Of course, most of us know that this sort of thing went on for years—and probably still does, although to a lesser degree. Does anybody think that Irving Mills wrote all those Ellington tunes? Of course not, but he was a slick promoter, so Duke at least got something out of the arrangement, as it were. Then there was Milt Gabler, who was responsible for countless memorable sessions on Decca and his own Commodore label. I noticed his name creeping into  the credit brackets on some reissues in the 1970s. There were worse offenders, such as the highly respected Lomaxes—Alan and his son, John—notorious for claiming undue credit. In the introduction to his 1936 book, "Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Lead Belly" (Macmillan), the elder Lomax describes Ledbetter as a whisky-drinking, womanizing murderer, so dangerous that even he sometimes was afraid to be in his company. It occurred to me that, had this been a true description of him, Ledbetter would most likely have killed Lomax years ago for ripping him off. Huddie Ledbetter's wife, Martha, would surely not have had to take a lowly chambermaid's job in a hotel if Leadbelly had been paid his royalties. 

In the Thirties, Lil Armstrong wrote a song called Just for a Thrill. She recorded it for Decca in 1936 and the popular Ink Spots picked it up in 1939. Then it more or less lay dormant until 1960 when Ray Charles included it on his best-selling album, "The Genius of Ray Charles." Within a few months, that song was all over TV and available in a variety of renditions on several albums. Imagine Lil's surprise when the mailman brought her a $500 royalty check. Lil was no fool, so she caught the first thing smoking and showed up at the music publisher's office in New York. There, her questions generated a lot of hemming and hawing, she told me. There was still some "tabulating" going on, they said, but Lil wan't buying that—she also had another question: who was this Don Raye who shared her composer credit? They hemmed and hawed some more before explaining that Mr. Raye had written some additional lyrics, which entitled him to half of the composer royalties. The fact was that nobody sang any lyrics to that song except the ones Lil wrote and recorded in the Thirties. So, Lil wasn't buying  that story, either.  "I think they thought I was this old lady in Chicago and I'd be happy to get five hundred dollars," she told me, chuckling. "Well, you know me, I left that office with a much bigger check, and there is more to come."

Getting back to Bobby Scott. He was a man of many talents, who came into the limelight in 1956, when he gave the ABC Paramount label its first chart hit, a song called Chain Gang. He  was still a teenager then, albeit barely, and the song—a Tennessee Ernie Ford-like tale—was perfect for the day's hit parade, but Bobby had only hiccuped.  He had worked on the road with Louis Prima and other jazz artists since he was 15, and his taste in music was, to say the least, eclectic. He wrote the hits, A Taste of Honey and He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother, as well as other tunes you might be familiar with if you are in mid-life. Suffice it to say that Bobby Scott's musical talent knew no boundaries, so he was handy to have around as Quincy elbowed his way to fame.

So there I was, unafraid to tell it like it was and working for editors at Stereo Review who never tried to water down what I had to say. They were not perturbed by the complaints my review received from Quincy's fans, and there was no protest from the man himself—of course not. There was, however, a wonderful letter from Bobby Scott in which he acknowledges the veracity of my "bitter" statement. Here it is:

To enlarge image of letter, please click on it.
With the letter came a small box of tapes containing a wonderful collection of his music, at the time unreleased—jazz, chamber music, an intriguing idiomatic blend. I hope some of it has been made available in the past twenty years. I called Bobby and we decided to get together for that bread breaking at summer's end. Sadly, it never came to pass. He passed away six months later, a 53 year old victim of lung cancer. I wonder how many people know what a loss that was.


Susannah McCorkle

I never kept count of how many records I critiqued nor of articles I wrote during my 28 years as a Contributing Editor at Stereo Review. There were several years when I was assigned an average of 12 reviews per month, and there was hardly a day when the mail or a messenger didn't bring several albums to my apartment. So many, that I couldn't possibly find time to hear them all, so I often relied on my editors or friends to alert me to new performers whose work commanded attention. I think it was Bill Livingstone who first told me about Susannah McCorkle and while I can't be absolutely sure about that, I do recall with scientific certainty that I became an instant fan.

It did not take long for us to develop a friendship, and I think that began when she came to my apartment for an interview and we discovered how, in many ways, we had followed similar  career paths. Before Susannah left, the interview had seamlessly morphed into an exchange of experiences and lessons learned. Susannah had led a nomadic life, first moving around in this country as her father, an anthropologist, changed teaching jobs, then relocating to Europe on her own. It was in Europe that she heard a Billie Holiday record that made her pursue a career as a singer. It was a natural choice for her, but Susannah's talent breezed far beyond the songs she so eloquently delivered. Her major at the University of California in Berkley was Italian literature and that interest eventually made her enter the literary field, contributing articles and short stories to major magazines. It was a talent she continued to pursue, even after returning to the U.S. and enjoying success as a vocalist, but she found a way to combine the two interests by writing about singers whom she admired. Two excellent pieces on Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters, respectively, appeared in American Heritage, and she wanted to make me the subject of her next article. I think it was because she felt we had much in common and, like Sally Rand, she was intrigued by someone from Iceland immersing himself in black American culture. I don't know if she had started writing at the time of her death, but she had spent a few hours interviewing me (there is a reference to that in one of the letters below)—an odd role reversal, I thought, and we laughed about it.

In 1984 when a group of people decided to honor me at a special affair held in a popular New York discotheque, they asked Susannah to perform, and she seemed happy to do it. I was very flattered. Why was I being honored? I am still trying to figure that one out, but I agreed to it on the condition that proceeds be given to The United Negro College Fund. I hope that request was honored. I don't recall what they were charged at the door, but approximately two thousand people showed up, including a few surprise guests, such as "Professor" Irwin Corey, Ruth Warrick ("Phoebe" from All My Children). Dan Morgenstern had just asked me what the evening was all about, and I had just told him that I hadn't the foggiest when I saw him look up and drop his face. Liberace, an unexpected guest, descended the stairs to a private area that was reserved for me and my personal guests. To quote Mahalia when the Newport audience gave her a warm welcome, "You make me feel like I'm a star." Well, she truly was, but I was only made to feel like one—I mean, they had a NYC cop wearing a tuxedo and acting as my bodyguard! When I wanted to move in the crowded main area, he became Moses and parted the crowd to make a path for me—the whole thing didn't make sense, but, I'm ashamed to say, I found myself enjoying all that attention. My mother loved it, they had flown her and her husband in from Seattle, and people were having a good time.

Getting back to Liberace, who was appearing at Radio City Music Hall, he was all smiles as he stepped down to my level. "What a wonderful party," he said, shaking my hand, "I just love it when I look around and see such a diverse sea of humanity."

I sensed Dan Morgenstern's bewilderment, and shared it.

That was the only time I ever met Liberace. I don't know if he was still at the Red Parrot when midnight came and Susannah sang, but I hope so. 

Susannah sent me many letters over the years, always hand-written and full of the warmth her personality exuded. Here are a three. Click on them for enlargement.

Having recorded earlier for a few labels that gave her little or no promotion— either for lack of money or interest—Susannah considered herself fortunate when Carl Jefferson signed her to his Concord Jazz label. Carl owned a successful Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Concord, California, and he loved jazz music. Having founded the Concord Jazz Festival in the late Sixties, Carl saw its enormous success as his cue to also start a record label., and eventually the label. He made unorthodox deals with the artists, giving them control over their material that had the rest of the recording industry all but labeling him a traitor. Well, that may be a bit harsh, but let's just say that it offered a nice contrast to the usual, label-favoring contract. I had known Carl Jefferson for several years and held him in high regard, so I was glad when he called me to say that he signed up Susannah. 

Carl passed away in 1995 and Concord Jazz went into less caring hands. The attitude of the new owners typified the bottom-line mentality that had all but snuffed out the recording industry. The new Concord went about diluting the label's artist roster and Susannah was treated shamefully. That—I suspect—contributed to the escalating depression that led her to take her own life on May 19, 2001. Susannah was 54 and her future as an artist and writer looked bright. Like many others who knew her, I had never sensed the problem within, but it was apparently deep-rooted.

A representative of Concord Jazz had the gall to show up and speak at the St. Peter's Church memorial service for Susannah—his words rang hollow. Actually, the most moving spoken tribute to Susannah came from critic Rex Reed, who that day rose in my estimation. 

Susanna always sent me a Christmas card with a personal message. Here is the last one I received.

Finally, I should mention that a biography of Susannah, Haunted Heart, was published in 2006. Unfortunately, it was written by Linda Dahl, a writer who often has difficulty distinguishing between fact and whatever comes to her must-sell-the-book mind. She did a horrendous job on her Mary Lou Williams biography, so I think we can assume that this is more of the same. I may be wrong, she may have gotten it right, but I was so disgusted with her twisted work on Mary Lou's story that I decided to not even read the blurb on the Susannah McCorkle book.

Let me add that I have just come across David Michael Wade's fond words, audio and video re Susannah. Accordingly, I refer you to Serenading the Demons/The Music of John Bartee.


Lonnie Johnson and Elmer Snowden in Philly - 1959

Elmer and the Ferrograph

Lonnie Johnson, Chris Albertson, John Hammond, Elmer Snowden. Photo
taken bu Bertha Waters on the day these recordings were made.

These performances by Elmer Snowden and Lonnie Johnson took place in my Philadelphia apartment one afternoon in 1959. I recorded them on my Ferrograph tape machine, which I still have. 

This was the tape I took to Bob Weinstock, the one that led to the Prestige albums.


Cannonball Adderley interview - Part II

Here is the second half of my interview with Cannoball Adderley. Sorry about the abrupt ending, but the only thing that went missing was an exchange of "thank yous."

Here's a link to Part 1 of this interview.

I appreciate any comments you might have.

For a site that is lovingly dedicated to Cannonball, visit Gilles Miton's Cannonball Adderley Rendez-vous


Cannonball Adderley interview - Part I

Here is the first half of a one hour interview I did with Cannonball Adderley in preparation for a Down Beat article that appeared in the January 8, 1970 issue. It was recorded in his suite at New York's Plaza Hotel. Cannon and I had known each other since 1960, when we were both associated with Riverside Records and I was well aware of his interest in education—in fact, he narrated "A Child's Introduction to Jazz," a Riverside album that should have sold better than it did. Education was the focus of the interview, but It didn't get in the way. Please bear in mind that this is raw material for a print article, not a radio interview, but I thought it might be of interest because Julian Edwin Adderley left us prematurely, 35 years ago. 

Here is the rest of the interview: Cannonball, Part 2.


For a site that is lovingly dedicated to Cannonball, visit Gilles Miton's Cannonball Adderley Rendez-vous


Walter Bishop, Jr. Quartet at WBAI - 1965

Here is another performance from the 1965 WBAI Marathon. In case you are not familiar with WBAI, it is a listener-sponsored FM station in New York City, belonging to the Pacifica Foundation. It has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and it has survived despite several attempts upon its life as voice of truth. The group heard here was one of many from the jazz community that came to WBAI's aid when their help was needed. Today, mismanagement and personal agendas have made WBAI but a shadow of its old self, but it still carries many vital programs and there are forces at work to make it whole again.

Their energy belies this, but Walter Bishop, Jr's. Quartet came to the station in the early morning hours, straight from a tiring gig at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem. Sad to say, some of the same musicians, along with Coltrane and Monk, assembled at the Five Spot only five months later to play tribute to tenor saxophonist Frank Haynes, whom cancer claimed in his 33rd year.  There is more to come from this and other groups who helped WBAI 45 years ago.