Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Chewing Gum Jimmy, Don & Billy at 3ed & Elm & Beauty is a rare thing! Things should be what they used to be!!.

- THINKING OF ORNETTE.... On my way home once from Boston @1970 I took the time to hear ORNETTE on a double bill in New York City at the Village Gate. I went from the bus station to the Village Gate to hear Ornette's band with Dewey & Charlie & Ed Blackwell. It was a double-bill with Alice Coltrane!! Alice had the great Frank Lowe on tenor sax, Visnu Wood-bass & Rashid Ali-drums....In thinking of the times I heard Ornette...that was 1970. Frank Lowe was inspired that night-and on fire- as everyone was that was playing. Next day- I took the bus home ( on a semester break) to Reading, Pa- and heard some jazz at a local club at 3ed & Elm, " Macs Place" ( funded by a pimp that liked jazz) ; that was also the place I originally heard Byard Lancaster playing with Philly vibes player Clarence Harris. A great spot when they had jazz, THAT weekend Mac's Place had- organist Don Patterson with saxophonist Danny Turner & Billy James! ALL THAT...Within a few days, and great players that were beyond words. To me- those eras, bands and situations were things that were happening a lot. - A year later I was home for something & I saw a handbill in a record shop that said-The Mahavishnu Orchestra...was playing at this joint called.." Leinbachs Hotel" off State Hill road here in Reading, Pa- They had not recorded " Inner Mounting Flame" yet, but were sounding great! Loud but killin' it!! After that gig, I drove by Mac's Place again, because someone told me a really great sax player was there. As I parked the car, and started to walk to the club, I noted small problem, that one of the hookers was directing traffic around a fight that was taking place in the street- what was going down was, one of the pimps that hung there, named " Chewing Gum Jimmy"...was beating the shit out of some guy in the street. Ok..I go into the club...and saxophonist Billy Mitchell is playing there rockin' the house with a organ band. Billy sounded unreal- I never heard him live & from then on was a fan. - MY POINT IS....All that music was swingin', related to great blues & people just loved that had a core, roots and was to this day so memorable. Get my point? Sad that Ornette passed- what a loss....thinking of that night hearing him at the Village Gate, and all the other musics that surrounded it, makes me think. Everyone of those gigs was packed,and people were responding...and loving it. Ya know....Things SHOULD be what they used to be....and more. ....FUNK YOU ; ; Yes...a simple organ group album by one of the greatest jazz organists ever. My man Don Patterson. Don was a basic everyday kinda guy. No press fancy talk about changing jazz, Don was Don. Beautiful swingin' player.Don's gigs were usually advertised in a local newspaper & his picture was in the club prior to the gig & that was it. YES IT! No website,just a van, Don Patterson & Billy James and a few bottles of Thunderbird & the B3 & Leslie speaker secured against the van wall. The clubs were always in a downtown section of a city, people could walk to the gig,or park without taking out a home loan to pay a parking lot.Usually a hotel Milner was within a stroll from the club, and that was where the band stayed- usually at a real cheap rate- because the club owner and hotel people KNEW each other. Key word- KNEW EACH OTHER. No text, no cell phone, IPhone or any intellectual shucking and jiving media stuff. Face to face talk- and people to people.Novel idea huh? LOL.The club was well aware of a player like Don Patterson...or Al Grey, Billy Root, Frank Haynes, Sonny Stitt and the people who earned their stripes on the bandstand. 3 sets at least, sometimes 4 and always a matinee on a Saturday or as in Boston's Jazz Workshop, a Sunday, which was always packed. So jazz don't sell? NO...these days jazz should sell. But what has jazz become? Is the audience involved? Are they listening and able to get to the gig? Each band in a certain day had a time period of fans, that just liked to go out on a Friday and hear some real jazz live. EACH BAND SOUNDED DIFFERENT!!! They would stop back on a Saturday too, as it wasn't over priced and the clubs always had great food. The one club here in Reading, Pa- was at 3ed and Elm Street- funded by a pimp who loved jazz. There was another at 3ed and Walnut Street and of course the GRAND HOTEL that was right aside of the Reading Railroad Station at 7th and Franklin streets. I would go there- on a Saturday afternoon and listen through the side door to the bands. That's where I first heard saxophonist Lynn Hope. This guy was playing amazing jazz-people at 2 in the afternoon were loving, listening and hanging out. That's when I met a guy named " Chewing Gum Jimmy"...a pimp that was a jazz fan. Jimmy always would smile and be friendly, I'd see him in the local record shop buying Horace Silver records- and he seemed to just be around listening, and on the case. I was not 18 yet- and Jimmy knew it so he said look, just stand against the wall and listen. It's cool- the club owner don't care....just be cool. That's it- I could hear guys like Lynn Hope, McGriff's band when Charles Earland was playing tenor sax before he played organ. Different era. Yes. . But do you hear what I'm saying. Do the math!! LOL... ....SIMPLICITY? Yes...Beauty is a rare thing...Ornette was right. People play music and people LISTEN to music...To be continued. Part 2 next week...Se you then...and remember jazz was a peoples music. It still should be- get on the case- See you next week - -- Tim Price....Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds....

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