Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Hip Cake Walk & the jazz life.

In speaking to many people about jazz, as time goes on I realize how damn lucky I was even as a high school student to be around the caliber of musicians I heard in small bars. And one of my past blogs I referred to a local jazz club here in Reading Pennsylvania-that was run by a pimp called "Macs Place". I was still in high school when I went in there-as the cats got to know me I was asked to come up and play a tune. Trust me, I would've never had the guts   to be asking cats like that to sit in at that age.I had heard the big bands as they came through this area, Basie, Duke, Hamp,Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. Hearing guys like Lockjaw Davis, Sal Nistico and Paul Gonsalvez in high school set my mind straight as to _WHAT_a tenor player sounded like. My mom took me to Lambertville NJ as well to hear guys like Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck and MJQ there in their summer concerts at Lamberville Music Tent.

I was telling a student that recently things to listen to-like Don Patterson's record with Booker Ervin called " The Hip Cakewalk". I was telling him about an alto saxophone player on that recording named Leonard Houston. I did not know about the recording, Leonard had played here in Reading Pennsylvania in the late 60s with another Philadelphia organ player I can't remember. There's a good chance it might've been organist Billy Gardner, when I actually spoke to him he told me about the recordings he was on with one of my main inspirations George Braith. But Leonard told me about the recording he had done with Don Patterson which I immediately went out and found.

That's the way you find things out! There was no Google then Ha ha ha. Sometimes those clubs were walking distance from my house so I would just walk in and try to catch a matinee or an early set. I made sure I had a coat and tie on like everybody else in the club. Once the bartender and staff got to know me-and I knew I was there for the music everything was cool. I just had to stay low key and not drink or create any attention. I heard people like Paul Weeden on guitar, Billy Bean on guitar Danny Turner on alto sax and a host of others I mentioned on my blog before a few years ago. If you Google those names, they will come up. Check them out.

Remember this is the late 1960's, I graduated from Reading High School in 1969- Then went to Berklee School Of Music in Boston. Which changed to Berklee College Of Music in my freshman year.

When I think about it none of those bands were even advertised, but the places were always full and people were spending money. Most of the time there was no cover charge whatsoever. I was always allowed to sit near the wall and just listen. More often than not,  education I got from hearing people like that was amazing. I've search the recordings out and check these guys out on vinyl. Still to this day hearing somebody as a kid like Shirley Scott or trombone player Al Grey were life changers.
Aside from all that,and my students question about the " Hip Cakewalk", I noticed one of the pimps from that generation had passed away this week. Out of respect for him-I dropped by his services. He was the last one I think. He had a small bar near the Parish Steel buildings that was a shot and beer spot for the steel workers after work. I mentioned guys with names like chewing gum Jimmy, another pimp they used to call Wat!! Short of course for Watusi. Along with chewing gum Jimmy, and guys like Honey Boy. Most of these guys ended up in Reading and were never born here. From what I said in blogs, you can see that they were a jazz fans, but they saw where a young guy was like me, checking out the music, and they were super cool. If I would've never told my mom or aunt about characters like that, I might've been grounded for life as a teenager ha! God bless them, they were real.

My point is-anything I put in one of these blogs like a CD cover or mention a musicians name, please go check them out. There's a good chance this might be one of the only spots you hear their names. Sometimes information comes from more than one source - it pays to go out here live music and I won't be telling you this if I didn't over 50 years ago. Most of that music has held the test of time, and I'll leave you with this, you find a better record and record than " Hip Cakewalk" with Don Patterson, Booker Ervin, Leonard Houston and Billy James. I'll leave you with that! This weeks blog is dedicated to the late great Horace Parlan. Another musician that spent his life in Europe and was originally from Pittsburgh. Check out the CD that I have listed below here with the Turrentine brothers. If that don't knock you out you need to see a doctor. Tell next week, check out some of this music. OK- The picture above this is probably 1977- of yours truly playing a local bar here in Reading, Pa, probably " Birds Place". A bar on a side street downtown- when I was off and home from road gigs. As with any city, there was jazz here and REAL JAZZ. If you get my drift then you know. For sax peeps- That's my old Couf Tenor saxophone, a Lawton 9starbb mouthpiece and....Rico brown box #5 tenor saxophone reeds. See you next week- Check out Booker Ervin & my man Don Patterson. ~ Tim Price

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