The Band Room

Volume 122, No. 9October, 2022

Bill Crow

On an interview with saxophonist Gary Bartz that is on YouTube, Gary talks about a time when he and Keith Jarrett were both with Miles Davis. Bartz said he didn’t like the way Jarrett was comping behind him on his solos, saying he felt that Jarrett wasn’t listening to him. He complained to Miles, and Miles told him to complain to Jarrett. He did, and Jarrett stopped comping completely behind Bartz. Bartz was okay with that, but eventually Jarrett went back to his old way of playing odd things behind Bartz’s soloing. Bartz again complained, angrily, to Miles. Miles called Jarrett into the dressing room, and Bartz left while they talked. When they played again, Jarrett was even more elaborate in his accompaniments to Bartz’s solos! Bartz found out later that Miles had said to Jarrett, “Gary loves what you’re doing behind him. He wants MORE!” Bartz commented, “Miles liked that kind of tension.”


Lin McPhillips posted this on Facebook. It was written by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated — with one another; with the rainy, sleety weather; with the world itself. Two men barked at each other about a shove that might or might not have been intentional. A pregnant woman got on, and nobody offered her a seat. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here.

But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom. “Folks,” he said, “I know you’ve had a rough day and you’re frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here’s what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus, I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight — just leave ‘em with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River, and when I drive by there later, I’ll open the window and throw your troubles in the water. Sound good?”

It was as if a spell had lifted. Everyone burst out laughing. Faces gleamed with surprise and delight. People who’d been pretending for the past hour not to notice each other’s existence were suddenly grinning at each other like, is this guy serious?

Oh, he was serious.

At the next stop — just as promised — the driver reached out his hand, palm up, and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm. Some people laughed as they did this, some had tears streaming down their faces — but everyone did it. The driver repeated the same lovely ritual at the next stop, too. And the next. All the way to the river.


Many New York highways and parkways have signs that indicate the amenities that are available at the exits. Besides the signs about food and lodging and gasoline, there are signs that advise the driver about points of interest. On Long Island’s Northern Parkway, there is one huge blue signboard with large white letters at the top, that read: ATTRACTIONS AT EXIT 39. The rest of that huge sign is blank. I feel sorry for the folks who live at exit 39.


Tom LaMark posted this story on the Gigs From Hell page on Facebook:

Many years ago, my band was engaged to play a party at a fancy French restaurant that was located in Boston’s Old City Hall. Access was through an alley in the back (of course), and up two floors in the elevator with two fully loaded rock n’ rollers, PA equipment, stands, lights, full keyboard rig, etc.

The gig was fine, and my band mates helped me at the end, wrapping mic cords, folding stands and the like. I was the last to leave the room with my carts.

I made two trips down and up the elevator and I left my stuff by the back door. I went upstairs one last time for a double check, a ritual that most of us have learned the hard way. Nothing was left behind. At this point I was dead tired and got in the elevator rather than taking the stairs. But the elevator got stuck between floors.

I pushed the red emergency button and a loud bell sounded with no response. I’m not claustrophobic so I felt no panic, I was just annoyed. I did some shouting to no avail. After ten minutes I picked up the emergency phone behind the little glass door, heard ringing for a long time and finally got an answer. “Can I help you?”

I explained that I was stuck in the elevator and that no one was around to help. He asked for the address, and I gave it to him from the inspection certificate. He then asked me what city I was in. What city? Really? He explained to me that he was in Atlanta. What?? He said he was going to contact somebody locally to help me.

Twenty minutes passed and nothing happened. I started banging on the door, and the kitchen clean-up crew finally heard me. They came and pried the doors open. Still wearing my tux, I climbed up as far as I could, and they pulled me out. I thanked them and went down the stairs, and I was happy to see that my equipment was still there by the unlocked door. When I got home, I slept well.


Warne Marsh’s widow Geraldyne posted this online:

Warne loved Zoot Sims. We went to hear him play, get this, on our wedding night! Zoot said, “Warne, what the hell are you doing here?” I loved him from that moment.