Remembering my dad today

June 16th, 2019

.

.

dad1

Joseph Maita, Sr.

c. 1940

.

__________

.

Besides doing his best to help raise three kids, during my 1960’s childhood my father worked his heart out at two jobs — one of which was as owner of a restaurant on Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue, and the other as a musician, playing trumpet and viola throughout the San Francisco Bay area, mostly on evenings and weekends in “casual” jobs. For years he was part of a strolling quartet that entertained San Francisco’s elite at the World Trade Club — an ensemble that at its peak toured the Philippines, playing to an audience that included “strongman” Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.   

Prior to that, in the 30’s he traveled the country and led his own band in Sacramento.  In the 40’s, he spent the war years as a member of the Winged Victory Orchestra.  And, in the late 40’s and 50’s, among many musical pursuits (although toned down once he married my mom in 1947), he played in the Jack Fina Orchestra, as well as in Ernie Heckscher’s orchestra, which famously played at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill.

.

He loved his music, and part of my own early appreciation for music came as a result of hearing his practice sessions. To this day I can still very clearly hear the sound of his viola making its way into my bedroom from his basement rehearsal space. It would occasionally even serve as my Saturday morning wake-up call, which meant it was time for me to go to the restaurant and work alongside him. Often, on the drive to work, he would blow into his trumpet mouthpiece, building up his “lip” for his next job.

In the early (and quite ambitious) days of developing Jerry Jazz Musician, my dad was a big fan of my vision.   He even contributed a story about his youthful career experience with the great trumpeter Roy Eldridge. He believed in my work and thought it had the potential to be important, enough so that in 1998 he wrote a heartfelt letter to his old friend Merv Griffin — who he recommended for the job at KFRC radio in San Francisco that served as a springboard to much bigger things — telling him that an investment in Jerry Jazz Musician would be a “wise business decision” because his son had “a tiger by its tail” with the work I was doing. Well, Mr. Griffin went not-so-mysteriously silent, and I knew my dad was disappointed his association with a member of the moneyed elite of his generation couldn’t come through for me. He was 81 years old at the time, and we lost him two years later.

.

So, I am thinking of my dad today, and devote this space to honor him. Without any more sentimentality, Cannonball Adderley can provide the music – “One For Daddy-O”

.

.

.

.

Share this:

One comments on “Remembering my dad today”

  1. Hi Joe. I really enjoyed your article on your Dad. Especially that he had an influence on JJM. How great. My own Dad played clarinet and tenor sax, and we practiced together from 4th to 6th grade.
    He had not played since 1936, and I noticed him getting better and better. Around Father’s Day in 6th grade, after practice, he said come upstairs and listen to the stereo. He put on Benny Goodman’s “Let’s Dance.” He!!!!!! Played along perfectly, with Benny’s full sound and phrasing. On that Father’s Day I knew I really wanted to play better, just like him. Best, Alan

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.

Interview

photo by Francis Wolff/© Mosaic Images
Interview with Paul Lopes, author of Art Rebels: Race, Class and Gender in the Art of Miles Davis and Martin Scorsese

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music, author Gerald Horne writes about the severe cultural and economic obstacles jazz musicians have encountered since the music's inception

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick

Poetry

Image by Matthias Gabriel from Pixabay
"Up in the Attic" -- a poem by Alan Yount

Jazz History Quiz #132

photo of Dizzy Gillespie by Brian McMillen
This legendary saxophonist has worked with Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges, Dizzy Gillespie (pictured), Art Blakey, and Art Farmer, and has become known as much for his compositions as the greatness of his horn playing, having written standards like “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe,” and “Along Came Betty.” Who is he?

Essay

photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones

Photography

photo of Jackie McLean by Veryl Oakland
Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba

Interview

Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography

Art

“Me, Thinking about Nona Faustine” — a photo-narrative by Charles Ingham

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Every Soul is a Circus," by Dig Wayne

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive