Jazz Vocals

My Jazz Dads


Just over a week away, Father's Day is a day of remembrance for me; my dad passed away when I was 25. He got to see me play but he never really got jazz, he was more of a classical guy. But, I've been fortunate to have met some musical father figures, "jazz dads" who offered advice and encouragement.

One of my first gigs was at a little joint in Syracuse that featured bebop seven nights a week. The New York cats working the circuit west to Buffalo and beyond stopped in when their schedules allowed. Freddy Cole, Nat's underrated brother was a frequent visitor. His In The Name Of Love is one of 10 releases available from the Concord family of labels).

In Brussels, I had the chance to sit in with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin at a legendary club called Pol's Place. The two "tough tenors" recorded together for over 30 years and their brand of hard bop never softened with the years. Two of my favorites in their extensive discography are 1987's Live At Minton's and Lookin' At Monk!, from the early years.

I was playing piano in a Boston hotel when I met Joe Pass, soft-spoken and supportive. His generous spirit shines through his collaborations with Oscar Peterson (A La Salle Pleyel), Ella Fitzgerald (Sophisticated Lady) and Sarah Vaughan (Crazy And Mixed Up).

Interviewing Sonny Rollins, whose excellent Freedom Suite was recently re-released, became a two-hour master class. Guru, priest, philosopher king, when the interview ended I had learned as much about myself as I had about him.