Reminiscing in Tempo
Memories and Opinion
“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.” Every month (or as often as possible), Jerry Jazz Musician poses one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.
Since it is not possible to know who will answer the question, the diversity of the participants will often depend on factors beyond the control of the publisher. The responses from the people who chose to participate in this edition are published below with only minor stylistic editing. No follow-up questions take place.
When you were growing up, what were three or four of your parents’ favorite recordings?
Originally published November, 2006
Here’s a quick answer to the question…My father listened to polkas and played the button accordion. My mother liked “Stardust,” “I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm,” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” It was my oldest brother, Joe, a clarinetist and saxophonist, who traded in some of my Dad’s polka 78’s for a Benny Goodman record and brought jazz into the house. Both my parents grew up in Slovakia, so I am actually a first generation American. I sometimes wonder how many other first-generation guys of my generation became jazz musicians. I know there were many in earlier times.
I grew up in a family of musicians, so most of the music I heard as a young boy was performed by people practicing in our home. My stepfather, Mordecai Bauman, was a fine baritone who sang a variety of things, some of which he recorded, and we did listen to his recordings of Shakespearean songs, Ives songs, George M. Cohan songs and a few things from the operatic repertoire, Mozart and Handel. And I remember some Josh White and Big Bill Broonzy recordings that I heard and liked, along with some Beiderbecke and Armstrong 78s, and the first LP of Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert. But the overwhelming exposure was to live music. Pete Seeger and the Weavers were house guests, as was Paul Robeson, my younger brother’s godfather. Pianist, Seymour Lipkin, and violinist, Sidney Harth, were two musicians living in Cleveland at the time that my stepfather was the head of the opera workshop at the Cleveland Institute of Music, so I heard them too. My parents produced a concert series called Popular Concert Attractions that included a folk music concert that featured Leadbelly, Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee, and the Duke of Iron, and they rehearsed at our home. One of the concerts in the series was Louis Armstrong, with Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Dick Cary, Arvell Shaw, Sid Catlett and Velma Middleton. There were two performances on a Sunday afternoon and evening. I heard both and had dinner with the musicians in between. That can turn a 12 year-old’s head!
Big Bill Broonzy
My parents listened to the old French chansons at the beginning of the previous century.
L’accordéoniste, by Edith Piaf
Les roses blanches, by Berthe Sylva
Kilimanjaro by The Quartet Tres Bien (Dee Dees Dad)
This is Lorez by Lorez Alexandria (Dee Dee s Mom)
Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderly issued 1962 (Mom & Dad). This is the album that made me want to become a singer and recording artist.
Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley
Billie Holiday, ‘All of Me‘
Coleman Hawkins ‘The Man I Love‘
Glenn Gould playing Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations‘
My two older sisters listened to The Jackson Five and The Beatles