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.” 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.
If you could have dinner with three people, who would they be?
Originally published August, 2009
After giving it a few days of thought, the three people I would love to have dinner with without a doubt would be- Sidney Bechet, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. Those three gentlemen embody the history of the saxophone and I would love to hang with just one of them, but all three, Wow! Bash, Prez and Bird, my heroes.
One I would definitely invite is Buddy Bolden, and I’d ask him to bring along his cornet. That would allow me to finally find out what he really sounded like. I’d invite Jelly Roll Morton because he is one of the most fascinating characters in jazz history. Also, he could play piano with Bolden. Perhaps I’d also invite Sidney Bechet because he’d complete the group. And all three of the musicians would have lots of great stories.
If I could expand the table, then Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, Steve Allen and Clara Bow (my favorite 1920s actress) would be other guests.
It’d be quite fun.
Assuming I could prevail upon him to prepare the meal himself, I’d love to sup with the famous chef Masaharu Morimoto. I was a big fan of the original Iron Chef, and he was my favorite. Everything he made looked amazing! Cooking is an art, and he’s a master.
Another choice would be President Obama. We’re almost exactly the same age; we’re of a similar political disposition, and obviously share many of the same cultural influences. Most importantly, I’d like to take the opportunity to ply him on the importance of jazz. He’s obviously receptive to that message, being a professed fan of many greats, but I’d cherish the opportunity to convince him of the importance of direct support of the most adventurous jazz artists, whether through the NEA or another organization devoted exclusively to jazz.
Finally (and this would require the ability to travel through time), I would like to sit down with filmmaker Orson Welles circa 1984 or sonear the end of his life, when he could look back upon the totality of his career. Welles is my favorite non-jazz artist in any medium. I’d love to talk to him about not only Citizen Kane, but especially his work outside the Hollywood system. He was arguably the original indie filmmaker and certainly one of the most uncompromising, original directors of all time. I think he could teach me a lot about going it alone, whichas a leftward-leaning jazz musicianI’m inclined to do by virtue of necessity.
Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and Barrack Obama.
That is a mighty tricky subject to ponder. Where is the dinner? IN a home? In a restaurant? The people and the setting must be symbiotic for the dinner to be enojoyable. So, here are the people I would like to sit with, and the context.
Robert Wright: For a dinner with him to be thoroughly enjoyable, I think it would be best to be in the most public place possible. Particularly if we got off into the subject of evolutionary psychology…it would be fun to look for and imagine any of the theories and phenomena of human nature manifest in behaviour of any stranger among and around us.
My mother: As much as I travel, I never get to spend much time with her. And, whenever we do get to sit down for a dinner, a lunch, or even a tea, our conversations fuel my mind and personal/creative growth for months. The best context for that dinner, would be in her house, one of us cooking something up as we chat and read quotes and excerpts to each other from various books and articles.
Joseph Cupertino: If he really did levitate when overwhelmed with reverence by God’s creation…I would love to sit and relish in the company of anyone able to feel that much pure and selfless joy. I would bet a nice picnic of fruit, cheese, cured meat and wine, in a field somewhere under a tree would be a perfect setting for that dinner. Maybe we could share thoughts and ideas about reaching such a state through the pursuit of music. One never knows!