Wil Greenstreet sent me a snippet from an interview with Shelly Manne: “I did a date with Jimmy Bowen… the song was ‘Fever.’ I had never worked with Jim, but I had made the original record of ‘Fever’ with Peggy Lee. It actually said on my part, ‘Play like Shelly Manne.’ So I played it just like I played it originally. The producer stormed out of the control room, walked over to me and said ‘Can’t you read English? It says play like Shelly Manne.’
When I told him I was Shelly Manne, he turned around and went back into the booth. I think he’s selling cars now.”
On a David Aaron gig last June, singer Sharon Bailey told me about one of her first gigs with a band. She was so pleased with the way they were accompanying her that she turned around and gave them a strong thumbs up. They immediately modulated to the next higher key.
Sue Terry was booked to play with Larry Segal’s band for the opening gala of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. They were met by two festival interns. One of them welcomed them, and the other held the door for them as they brought in their equipment. Larry asked them for their names. “Matt,” said the first one. The other said, “I’m also Matt. It’s a little confusing.”
“Not at all,” replied Larry. “You’re Welcome Matt, and you’re Door Matt.”
When Lloyd Wells was living in Englewood, New Jersey, one of his neighbors was John Glasel, before he became the president of Local 802. Lloyd had a set of electric hedge trimmers that John wanted to borrow. Lloyd told him to be careful not to lose a finger. In a couple of days, John returned the trimmers. He hadn’t lost a finger, but he had cut right through the power cord.
Howard Heller told me about a lady who answered her doorbell to find a workman with a tool chest at her door. “Madam,” he said, “I’m the piano tuner.”
She exclaimed, “Why, I didn’t send for a piano tuner.” The man replied, “I know you didn’t, but your neighbors did.”
On his excellent blog, Doug Ramsey printed the Nazi regulations controlling Czech dance orchestras during the German occupation:
1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20 percent of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands.
2. In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics.
3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated.
4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10 percent syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs).
5. Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.).
6. Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches).
7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions.
8. Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden.
9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat).
10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violincello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.
Scott Robinson got this story from New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher, who once worked in a band sponsored by See’s Candy. That was one of the companies owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The band was playing a Christmas party at See’s California factory. Buffet himself rode up to the podium on the back of a delivery motorcycle to address the staff. He got a big laugh when he tested the microphone: “Testing…testing…one million…two million…three million…”
Scott also sent me a Photoshopped picture of Albert Einstein writing, on a blackboard, his other theory of relativity:
E = F flat.