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List of mayors of Utica, New York

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This article contains a list of mayors of Utica, New York, United States.

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  • ✪ Marian McPartland Interview by Monk Rowe - 4/26/1997 - Utica, NY

Transcription

MR: My guest today for the Hamilton College Jazz Archive interviews is Marian McPartland, highly regarded pianist, author, radio personality, composer - and welcome. You look wonderful. MM: Thank you. MR: I'm so glad to have you here. MM: It's nice to be here but I get nervous when I hear all those things being, that laundry list of things- MR: Well you've earned them and I don't know if you noticed I kind of borrowed your introduction from "Piano Jazz." MM: Oh, really? MR: I listened to a few today. MM: Oh, you did, well they must be all right then because sometimes I have quite a job, I mean depending on who it is. But it's kind of fun making up something to introduce the guest with. MR: Can we talk about that for a moment? MM: Oh, sure, certainly. MR: It's been - '78 you started? MM: '79. It's still close to 18 years. And so far it's the longest running show on NPR. I don't know what they call it - educational entertainment or something. But I feel really lucky. I never thought I would be a radio person. MR: And to meet all those folks along the way, it's just been absolutely amazing I would guess. MM: Well the funny thing is I probably did know a good many of them already, but as time has gone by there are people I'd wanted to have on the show that I hadn't met already, like B�la Fleck, and I admired him from afar on T.V. and I thought gee it would be nice to have him on "Piano Jazz." So we did you know. And oh various other different people, a piano player from a big band with Maria Schneider. I wanted to have her on the show and she says, "oh I play terrible piano." She absolutely refused to do it, to do the show, and she says, "why don't you have my piano player, Frank" - now I'm drawing a blank on his name - but a wonderful piano player. So there's somebody else I hadn't met. Anyway. MR: When you do the shows, are they fairly spontaneous? Or are you able to sit down beforehand and say, "let's do these tunes." MM: Well that much we do, make a sort of list of tunes. But also if need be if the guest wants to change tunes in midstream then fine. I mean we don't just start and keep going to the end, we stop and start. The producer is very picky and she might stop me because I bumped my foot on the pedal or something. MR: Well I'm always impressed by your ability to match with the people, and when, you know, Joe Williams says, "well let's do this song," and you say, "what key?" And you do it. I mean this I think is something that not everyone has that can play all those tunes in different keys. Do you have to do all the homework beforehand? MM: Not for something like that because unless he was going to pick some new tune and put the sheet music in front of me, that would be the worst thing he could do, but you know, I mean I know all his tunes and anything he's likely to do, and he's such a nice person, he wouldn't hit me with anything I didn't know. So as long as I know the tune I can do it in any key. I don't care about that. It's fine. MR: But sometimes it seems like unexpected things happen. Like Benny Carter played mostly piano with you. MM: Well I don't know why that was. If I wanted him to play his horn - I can't remember whether he said he forgot it or left it on the table - I think he wanted to play the piano. At least I got that feeling. But I mean he does play sort of nice arranger's piano but this is a different side of him and of course I love all of his tunes. I did woodshed a few of those tunes so that we could play them. MR: I like that phrase "arranger's piano" actually. I think I'll probably borrow that. It's a compliment and it's a qualifier too. MM: Well it's sort of lets you know that it's not an Oscar Peterson piano player. But nevertheless, Benny really played very well. And there's other people you could qualify that way, like Gerry Mulligan. He's another one and he definitely, I know he wanted to play the piano. He said the same thing and he left his horn on the kitchen table. MR: They probably wanted to get to play with you, you know, see what that felt like. MM: Well I don't know but Gerry is a good pianist, he more than arranges piano. I just heard that show the other day, they re-ran it. I hadn't heard it for ages, and sometimes it's good because you hear something, and I thought boy that really was a good show. Where at the time I wasn't that sure it was that good. MR: So now that you've done so many fine musicians, is it more of a challenge to find people to do these days, or is there constantly a new selection to choose from? MM: Well both. I just thought of the guy's name, I should give him a name, the guy that plays in Maria Schneider's band, Frank Kimbrough, and he's somebody you're definitely going to hear about. But in answer to your question, well it's both. There still are a lot of people out there that I probably should have asked but for whatever reason, there's just too many of them, like I just got around to calling up somebody named Tony Monte do you know him? MR: Tony? MM: Monte. M-O-N-T-E. He's been around the New York scene for years, a really good player. And just somehow I never got to it. And then of course there's people I would like to have and probably never can like Stevie Wonder. I mean to get through to him I'd probably have to get in a plane and fly over his house and drop a note or something. MR: That would get his attention I think. MM: Well maybe. I'd better do something, because he's a person that would be a really good show and I know all his tunes, or enough of them. MR: That reminds me of course I was going to get to this a little later, but we'll go there now. Remember when you came to my high school, in 1974 I think? MM: Yeah, sure. MR: And you played "Sunshine of My Life." MM: Did I? MR: Yes, you did. And of course at that time, that was a pop hit. MM: Oh, yeah. MR: And the kids loved it. And I've often wondered, are some of those situations where you get in front of a high school audience, that they've been tough along the way? MM: Not too bad, truthfully. I mean I haven't played for a big group of like high school kids for a long time. I think depending on where they are - like if it was a New York City school, I think I would have to be armed and dangerous to be able to put over anything those kids, but I don't know. I haven't been asked to do one, but it would be a challenge. But I do do quite a few high school and college dates, and I do, every year, do a thing with a high school band in Port Washington. I figure they really ought to know something about jazz since I live there, and we really have quite a good little band going now. Of course unfortunately they leave and go to college, but a lot of them have actually stayed in music. It's quite amazing. So I do that and then different college dates. Ithaca College is one and I guess I'm going to play it again sometime later this year. MR: Well I remember the, whoever sponsored that tour put you up in a motel that had no phone or something, and I felt really funny. Has there been times - I don't want to get too personal here - but has there been times in your career where it's been like a struggle? MM: You mean financially or because there was no phone? MR: Financially and trying to find your way into making a living. MM: Oh, no. I mean probably the worst time was when Jimmy and I first came back, my first time to the States, and we lived in Chicago. Actually we stayed with his relatives until the money ran out. That was mostly Jimmy being very open handed with all the relatives. So for a while we did have a little apartment in Chicago. But I mean things were never really bad I know. I mean it might be that a couple of weeks would go by without getting a gig, but touch wood, no, nothing has ever - I mean I feel sorry for anybody that's in that position because I never have been, have you? MR: Yeah. I think they call it paying dues. MM: Oh, well that - MR: Builds character you know. MM: I mean that's what they say but I mean I feel as if I'm still paying dues, and still - not necessarily financial dues but other things, which I don't need to go into right now. But basically I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing and working a lot and being busy. MR: Can I take you back to when you met Jimmy and, it must have been quite an experience to be a young lady in World War II, you started with the British version of USO, is that right? MM: Yes. MR: Was that like, did you have a contract with them, or was it a volunteer thing, or was it a real job? MM: Oh I think we had a contract, it was a real job. In fact at that time I had the choice of either being dropped into the woman's Army, or going into some kind of entertainment, so naturally I decided I would do that immediately, I didn't have to think about it at all. So the pay was pretty decent, and we played all over the country. Accommodations and travel were not always the best because you know there was a war on. And we would get - there would be bombs dropping once in a while. But then I switched and went with regular Merchant USO. Somebody said, "oh you ought to join USO, the pay is better and you'll meet all these wonderful American guys" stuff like that, and I though oooh. So that's what I did. And then we worked, it would be a regular show, like with a comedian or a singer or dancer, they had a guitar player and then I did the piano player thing for the whole show. And it was the same kind of thing but on a higher level and we stayed at wonderful hotels. So then it got to be when they were going to have the invasion and after the invasion, they were sounding people who wanted to go over to France and of course I wanted to go and did go with the first group which was about a month after the invasion. And we went over in a boat and we had helmets and combat boots and everything the GIs had except the guns. You know I felt like MacArthur wading ashore onto Omaha Beach and straggling up the beach and we knew how to put up pup tents. But we never had to because somebody always did that for us. MR: I wonder if there's any pictures of that? MM: Unfortunately no. If I'd known what I was going to get into - I didn't take pictures. Oh there are some, yeah there are some, but yeah there are some now that I think of it. But I should have kept a diary. And anyway we went through all of these miserably bombed and strifed towns that were just a mass of rubble, and we finally arrived in Belgium in a rest area, and it was called Eupen, and they had a big band and they had all kinds of stuff going on and the area shows would come there to rest, and they had an Officer's Club, and that's where I met Jimmy, one of the people in the [inaudible] Social - Willy Shaw, was a comedian from Chicago, knew Jimmy, and said, "we can't have this man out there being in combat, we've got to get him into Special Service," so that's what they did. So that's how I met Jimmy, because he then became a member of this little band. But first they had a big party for him, all the band members and people are saying, "Jimmy McPartland's coming, Jimmy McPartland's coming," and I'm going, "who?" I'd heard of Bud Freeman and Sidney Bechet, but I hadn't heard of Jimmy yet. And they had a party in this tent and they were going to have a jam session, and Jimmy always told me afterwards, "oh I saw you across the tent and I knew you wanted to play and I said to myself 'oh a woman musician, she wants to play and I know she's going to be terrible,' and you were," he says. But I really wasn't terrible I think I just didn't know how to play with a big band at that point, I assume anyway. MR: How do you play with a big band? I mean, to our piano players who will be watching. MM: Well I mean now, I don't - at that time I guess I felt in the way you know, you learn how to comp, accompany, and play behind a soloist to give them more confidence or let them know where they are in the tune or something like that you know you don't play all over the piano, which I guess is what I was doing at that time. MR: So you guys hit it off pretty quickly? MM: Well you know yes we did. And I guess going out every day early, out to the carrier to entertain the troops and going - maybe had to perform on a flatbed truck or they'd build a stage out of boards or it would be raining and they'd put a tarp falling over the piano and stuff like that. It wasn't exactly the greatest. But they just loved it, and then they would wine and dine us and oh, it was something. So you know there we were, so I think it was a case of propinquity - that's a good word - like we were there and so it just followed on that we would get together. And of course I admired Jimmy's playing and he started to tell me that he liked my harmony so one thing led to another. MR: Real harmony. MM: Yes. MR: From a logistical standpoint it must have been interesting seeing what kind of instrument you were going to deal with every day - what kind of piano were they going to find for me? MM: Well it's funny because I thought it was going to be terrible, in fact one of the prerequisites of the job was that you would learn to play accordion in case there were no pianos. Oh, boy, I'll never live this down. But I never had to actually play the accordion because they had these wonderful little like a G.I. piano which was not quite a full keyboard, like a small upright, painted gray, Army style. And I always got to play on one of those. I never had a problem. And then when we were in Eupen, Jimmy went out to somebody's house, some people that had been branded as traitors, and removed the piano and put it on a truck and brought it over to the theater for me, and this was like, "oh, you went out and got a piano for me, oh." MR: What a nice gesture. MM: So that sort of fixed the deal right there. So we got married over there in Aachen, Germany. MR. That's wonderful. MM: Yeah. MR: Coming to the States after the war, when did you get to New York and was it still the heyday of 52nd Street when you got to New York? MM: Not quite, because we arrived in April of 1946 and we only stayed for a few days, Jimmy wanted to go to Eddie Condon's and that was the first place I sat in and showed off my repertoire of Dixieland tunes. And oh we stayed at Gene Krupa's house, he was very, very nice to us, because he's an old friend of Jimmy's, they'd worked together of course. And we visited some clubs. I was hot to see everybody I'd read about or heard about or heard on records. We met Louis Armstrong and he was working in a club, and a whole bunch of people. We went to Nick's. And anyway, Jimmy didn't want to stay, he wanted to go back to Chicago and see the family. And it was sort of a turning point because Eddie Condon offered him a job with a band I think Wild Bill Davidson was taking a leave of absence or something. And I said, "oh, Jimmy, oh you really should take it." And he refused, "oh I want to relax and see my family." God knows what would have happened if he would have stayed there, but I guess it was not meant to be. So we went to Chicago instead for a few years. MR: Well Chicago was a decent town for music, wasn't it? MM: Oh, wonderful. I loved Chicago, I still love it. And we sort of broke in with working with different clubs. I mean that might have been maybe the thinnest part financially - was kind of for Jimmy to break back into things. And we did do a lot of interesting gigs however, and then and I don't know, you probably don't remember, you're too young, Dave Garroway, who was - before he ever came to New York to be on "The Today Show" he had a coast-to-coast radio show and Jimmy was the soloist on that and he sounded wonderful. I still have that recording of that. And anyway Jimmy kept saying, "oh you should have your own group, you should have your own group." And so we came to New York in 1950 I guess and we stopped on the way and played a club in Philadelphia that was very famous at the time it was called The Rendezvous Club, and I met people like Sidney DeParis, Wilbur DeParis played with the band. And so then we went on to New York and that's when I started at The Embers. And Jimmy really arranged so many things for me. But it was tough because I was so green and callow and this was a top club and I had great sidemen - Ed Safranski from Kenton's band and Don Lamond from Woody's band, Woody Herman's band, who were trying to break into the jingle scene in New York and so, I mean that was my first trio group. And at that same engagement, the owner brought in Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins as guests so you can imagine, I got to play for them too. I do have pictures to prove that because that's something I was very thrilled about. And they were very nice. Nobody ever said, "don't play that change" or, "don't do that." So I guess I felt fine anyway. MR: What did the average club date at that time pay? MM: Well when you say a club date, you don't mean like a club date for like a wedding, that's what we call club dates, like a wedding. MR: No, more like a - MM: You mean like an actual nightclub? MR: Yeah. MM: Well I can't remember exactly but not a lot. I can only tell you when we up at The Hickory House, the first salary I got was about $550 for three people. And at the time, nobody complained, we all thought we were doing fine. And then he very magnanimously raised it to $600, like $600, $650, I don't think we ever got past $700. MR: And was it your responsibility, being your trio, that you dealt with the club owner? MM: Yeah. MR: They have a lot of reasons why they can't pay you more I would imagine, you know? MM: Well I don't know any reason except being cheap and miserable to deal with. Well this guy was, because we really did great business at The Hickory House and he used to look around the club and I would say, "nice crowd in here tonight." And he would say, "yeah, they're all drinking beer." I mean God forbid he would think business was good, I might want a raise. MR: Right. MM: So I guess I mean if I think of it now I mean I remember mostly the good things, because I had a great trio. Well actually for openers I had a guy named Mel Zelnick and I'm trying to think who the bass player was, that's awful I can't think, but anyway I think we had Vinnie Burke for a while. And then my main trio after a couple of months was Bill Crow and Joe Morello. And I mean that was the main trio for about three or four years. MR: That's quite a group. MM: Yeah. And I still berate Dave Brubeck whenever I see him because he and Paul used to come in the club and I would think oh isn't that nice they really like the trio. But they were really coming in to size up Joe and steal him. But I mean Joe had to move on, he couldn't stay with me forever. But anyway, thinking back, ten years of being in there was a good gig. MR: You had a lot of times - would you feel pressured when Duke Ellington came in the room, or - I mean I know you went out of your way to play some of his tunes and he apparently liked it. MM: I think I felt pressured, or you get a sort of adrenaline going or something. Like Joe used to, I remember he said to me, "oh why do you always have to play an Ellington tune just because he came in?" You know and he thought I was being obsequious and I probably was, but there was some pressure there. But then I remember we were in Washington, DC and Art Tatum came in, oh man, that was heavy. But you know, one deals with it, I didn't stop playing or anything, but all kinds of people came in to Hickory House - Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, well you name it. And then it was also, I guess word got around that I didn't mind having people sit in, and Bucky Pizarelli would come in, and Sal Salvadore, and various - in fact that's how I got Joe actually, because I had Mousey Alexander on drums and he met Joe, who had just come to town from Springfield, Mass, and invited him to sit in and then I said oh my God what am I going to do, I've got to have this guy, oh, I've got to work this out. And then it worked out because Mousey decided to go with the Sauter-Finnegan band, and then I got Joe Morello. Anyway, I'm sorry I'm talking away here. MR: That's why we're here. Was there, obviously it's been different for you as a woman pianist to be fitting in to what is essentially a man's world in jazz. MM: Oh, yes. MR: Was this something you've dealt with since you got here? Was there ever a point where it was an advantage to you? Or has it always been pretty much kind of an uphill struggle? MM: I don't think it was ever an uphill struggle for me, because I sort of had my indoctrination in working with Jimmy and boy Jimmy was so supportive and proud of me. And so when I started at The Embers as a trio and Ed and Don, they couldn't be nicer. I mean very seldom did I have a bad experience. I did have one guy at The Embers for a short time, I can't think of his name - just as well - and I had to fire him and boy having to fire somebody that just really, you know I could probably do it now with great aplomb but luckily I haven't had to. But I never had a real problem there. The only problems, or not problem, but things would be like I remember the first review I had from Leonard Feather was, "she has three strikes against her: she's English, white and a woman." And I don't know it didn't bother me that much. I don't remember being too upset about that. And if there were things it'd probably be from the audience like, "oh you play good for a girl," or, "you sound just like a man." I mean you don't hear those things anymore. And I mean there were a lot of women on the scene: Mary Lou Williams, Barbara Carroll, people I'd heard before I got there - Hazel Scott, Lil Harden. I never felt that the women were in such bad shape I guess. They went ahead and they had consciousness raising and I remember talking to Barbara about this, and she said, "well I didn't know it was a thing, we've just been playing and doing our thing right along." And I never had to feel that things were tough. I never did. MR: I think it's often the case when the people that are doing it, aren't aware that there's a real problem. I think sometimes it's the people that are observing from outside, you know, think there's a problem that needs to be dealt with. MM: Well and there were some women who were trying to get gigs. Like somebody I recently had on "Piano Jazz" was a bass player named Carline Ray, was really wonderful, and she said years ago she would get a call for a gig and as soon as the person knew it was a girl, he'd hang up. But I don't think it was all that prevalent, truthfully. Although I'm sure that you know in a way I mean we're all doing well but I expect there's probably still an air of male chauvinism there. But I don't care. I still like things like having the door opened for me and I don't have trouble with political correctness. If the bass player wants to put his arm around me, that's okay. MR: Well I'm going to remember that when we leave, okay, that I'll probably put my arm around you and open the door. MM: That's fine. I love it. I'll look forward to it. MR: I suppose in a perfect world it might not be necessary to have - I was just reading the other day that I think in two weekends there will be a women's jazz festival in Washington I think it is. So maybe, as I said in a perfect world it wouldn't be necessary to have a "women's" jazz festival, but they would just have a jazz festival there would be a proportional amount of women players. MM: Well we always said this, like when they had the Kansas City Women's Festival, that was a long time ago, I think you were probably a real young boy then - I can't remember how long ago, gee maybe it's 15 or 20 years - and this was the, like the biggest jazz festival ever. Mary Lou Williams played it and I played it and Toshiko Akiyoshi had her big band, and I mean it was a large event. And they carried that on for three or four years and then they ran out of money. So actually, what Billy Taylor is doing, it's the same kind of thing. They had it last year but they called it "A Tribute to Mary Lou Williams," which was fine. And I was in it and the Maria Schneider big band and Joanne Brackeen. And I mean they certainly didn't have to wont for good women players. Jane Ira Bloom, a wonderful sax player, so I don't exactly know the cast of characters for this year but some of them - Trudy Pitts, a good piano player, I can't remember, they had Maria Schneider's big band again and there's another woman's big band called Diva, very, very good. But it's true, I mean you don't ever have to say Woody Herman and his orchestra and his all-male band, but yet you do have to say Diva is an all-girl band. It's still a novelty and maybe it always will be I don't know. MR: It's almost the same in sports you know. They're trying so hard to have professional women's basketball for instance and it's an uphill battle I guess. MM: Well I mean for everything. I remember years ago like doing T.V. shows, now you never, ever saw a woman cameraperson, or a women being an assistant producer or a producer. Whereas like now, my producer for "Piano Jazz" is a woman, and my manager is a woman, and my publicist is a woman, you know and I'm thinking gee, what's going on I'm surrounded by all these chicks, I would like to get away from this. What happened to the guys? If they hear me I'm not serious. MR: No, I know. We can edit it out. Let me talk about your own music for a while. You've written some wonderful tunes which you have the luxury of playing on your own records, which I think is nice. MM: Well I played one or two - now I've made this, you may have heard this new CD with strings that I did a whole bunch of my own things. Finally I felt well I'd better do this before I lose my brain certainly - so I thought I'd better do it, so I did. MR: When you first heard the arrangements played, did they sound like you were hoping? MM: Yes, they were very nice. I know I did make maybe one or two little minor adjustments, but very little. The hard thing was that Alan Broadbent had written the arrangements and he knew what was going on and I was looking at them for the first time. But we had a rehearsal but only one. And then the next day we started recording, and it took me a while to kind of assimilate what was going on. I'd hear something and I'd think, oh have another take and don't do that again. You know essentially we got it together because they were really nice arrangements, I just had to get my act together. MR: Do you usually have a concept beforehand when the opportunity to record comes up, and you're thinking about your next album, do you think in a broad sense, this album is going to be about standards or it's going to be - you know - how do you decide that sort of thing? MM: Oh, let's see. Well a few years back I had this, I did have an idea, I wanted to do tunes by Billy Strayhorn because it seemed like nobody had. And it turned out that I and Art Farmer were sort of the sole people who had done an entire record of Billy Strayhorn's music. And I feel rather proud of myself for that. And of course now it's happening all over the place and they're going to make a movie about him, so I'm really glad all of this is happening. And then I don't know really why, I guess I had met Benny Carter finally and for some reason or other I really wanted to do a record of Benny Carter's music. And Carl Jefferson at Concord, he was dead against it. One of his reasons were, "oh Benny wants so much money," and well he just was against it. But I really wanted to do it, so I finally did do it. And Benny has nice tunes, really good tunes. MR: I was thinking also about one of your records called "Ambiance." MM: Oh, yes. MR: Which to me sounds like really free. MM: Yeah, it was. MR: Very, quite free. and I was wondering if this is how you went into this record, and said we're really going to - I don't know what phrase to use - push the envelope here. MM: No, I think I was pretty much doing that kind of thing because I had Michael Moore with me, who was very much into, like he wrote several of those tunes. It's funny, after a while Michael Moore became very conservative and I always felt bad because it seemed like he led me into this and every time somebody's around that it's going to be a little free - I'll fall back in. I mean I can't really do it by myself. I'm trying to think exactly when it happened. I think I was playing a place called The Apartment, it was before I made "Ambiance" anyway, and before I had Michael Moore. And this drummer named Jimmy Cappers kept saying, "why don't you play free - why don't you play free things?" And I really couldn't sort of quite understand what it was I had to do, and I kept trying and I'd always end up in a triad or something. And finally I was able to do that very thing. I mean I can do it. But at that time I probably never would have thought of doing "Piano Jazz" with Cecil Taylor. But it's funny now I love doing that. But I don't know why more of it doesn't enter into the music, because it could, it could, but I don't know it seems like I've become, I'm not more conservative, I don't know, I should do one of those "out" records again. Because really, "Ambiance" is one of my favorites. MR: It's almost as if you have to force yourself to forget some of the things that you have relied on in the past, to see if things come out somewhat by accident. I don't know. I've never been able to do it myself. MM: Well actually, what's your instrument, I'm trying to remember? MR: Saxophone. MM: Right. Well actually, Michael Moore had written several of those tunes that were on "Ambiance" and then I had written "Ambiance" and there was a couple of other things. But we had this very freestyle drummer too, Jimmy Madison. He was on most the tracks, and Billy Hart was on the rest of it. And boy if I could just set up that same thing again I probably would get into that same bag. You're making me think I should do some more. I mean I can and I do, like every time on "Piano Jazz" if the guest wants to do it, we'll do at least one free piece. Some of them turn out better than others. It's always a kick doing it. MR: Well there's always tonight. MM: Yeah, that's true. MR: Or the next day. MM: True. MR: You mentioned having discussions with the fellow that owned Concord about you wanting to do one thing, and he's going, "no, no." Is it this kind of thing that helped you to make the decision to start your own record company? MM: Oh, that happened long before, that, with Concord, that happened, God in the 60s I think, when there seemed to be a great influx of rock music and not too much jazz was being recorded, or maybe people like Monk and Miles were being recorded, but nothing much was happening for me. And then Sam Coslow, who wrote a whole bunch of tunes starting with "Cocktails for Two" and it's funny, people think of Spike Jones, but it really is a pretty tune, he's written a lot of well-known tunes and that's the only one I can come up with right now. Anyway he said, "if you'll make a recording of my tunes I'll pay for the date and everything." So he did. And I had Ron Carter and Grady Tate on the record. But Sam, I think he wanted it to be more commercial than it was, and he had some girl singers on some tracks going, "doo-wa, doo-wa," you know, and, oh, he was paying for the date and I couldn't do much about that. Anyway, that experience I remember saying oh the hell with it, I'm going to make my own damn record. And I did. That's when I started with Halcyon. It was like the last of the cottage industries. But so many musicians, they have the same thing, like a mail order record company. And I actually have about 18 really nice records on Halcyon, some of which have been put out by Concord or their parent company Jazz Alliance. I did an Alec Wilder recording of all Alec's tune, and that came out. MR: You had a special relationship with Alec. MM: Yes I guess so. He was a very good friend and a lot of fun. I miss him a lot. He was so funny and so bright and erudite and, I don't know, he would recommend books for me to read and I guess he was really heavy into the environmental thing, as a lot of other people were, and so I miss Alec a lot. But he used to write all kinds of pieces for his friends, so he wrote several pieces for me which I recorded. MR: He seemed to have a real way with a bass line, moving it wonderfully. MM: It's funny, one of Alec's, I remember Alec saying to me about a certain, one of his tunes I forget, maybe it's "I'll be Around" that has the descending bass line. At any rate, I remember we were talking and he said, "boy I'd kill for a good bass line." And I know what he means. Because you have to have a just have a certain sequence that'll really set up a tune or sound good as part of a tune. I've always been aware of that. MR: I'm going to pause for a drink and then we can wrap up. MM: It's awfully hot in here, isn't it? MR: We'll wrap this up pretty quick [off camera comments] MM: Well it's like - you know to have somebody talk about me and ask about me, and discuss me, I mean it's like having a sitting with a psychiatrist or something. Except at the end you're not going to charge me I hope. But you are a very good interviewer. MR: Why thank you. MM: And I mean you must have it all in your head because I was watching last night - I don't know what station, but I got Wynton Marsalis doing an interview with David Frost. And David Frost had a whole bunch of notes you know, and asked Wynton some very erudite question and then I don't know I wasn't too thrilled with his interviewing. And then he'd look at the paper again. Wynton is quite something. I got a kick out of the interview. MR: Okay. Do you think that jazz can be successfully taught - to play? MM: I don't know. Sometimes I think it can. I think, well I actually did about a three-month period in the Washington, D.C. schools and we got a huge grant for this, to go around to the public schools with just this thing in mind, to teach kids to play jazz. And I used all the local musicians and one of the best tunes I thought to get the kids started to play would be a blues, and then we picked "C Jam Blues" because it's so repetitive, and the kids had these little instruments like a vibraharp, with two octaves they all had to play on. And we did in fact get kids to not only play this tune but to improvise on it. And we culminated with a concert with Duke, he came down and played with a small group for the kids in the school And it was one of the great experiences of my life. So at that time I thought that they really had done some good things and it was a shame that they couldn't follow through, like after we left the program just fell apart. I mean it broke my heart because we really had kids improvising with the Navy band, which was, what an experience that was, I'll never forget. Anyway, I guess I basically think that you can, if somebody is interested, you can point them in the right direction. I think kids have to be motivated. And I think if they really want to do it that's half the battle. And then they will investigate and listen and that's a part of it. But I have seen and done workshops and stage band clinics and things where you hear some of these kids and you think oh these kids will never play. Next year the kid comes back, having listened to Bill Evans or somebody, and is playing away, and I'll never say never to anybody, because I think it takes wanting to do it, and motivation, and that's about it really. MR: Well I think you said a very important word there too and that was listen. He listened to somebody who inspired him to make sense out of what he was trying to do. MM: Yeah. We even have those experiences with "Piano Jazz," people saying they heard a certain tune or they heard what we're doing and they started to take piano lessons, all this kind of stuff. It's really very gratifying. And some of them are people in their 70s saying, "well I just thought I'd get started because I heard you playing one of my favorite tunes." And you know like well, "am I too old to start?" And I'm saying, "I'm older than you and I'm doing it." MR: I'm still out there gigging. MM: Yes, still out there gigging, and hopefully will be doing it for a while. MR: So, here's an imaginary young lady, she's 20, and you happen to meet her somewhere, and she says, "Marian, I really want to make a living as a jazz piano player." Would you suggest that she think of something else to do, or what would you say to her? MM: Well I probably would say well can you play, do you have a piano, who do you listen to, can you play? And if I'm in a room, well play me something. Have you taken lessons? You know I don't want somebody that hasn't done anything, I mean they have to sort of have an idea about it. Once in a while I get somebody, some dilettante will say, "well I don't really want to take piano lessons, I just want to play a few chords like George Shearing." And I say, "well you can't do that. There's no way you could. You've got to do the whole thing or nothing." MR: That's a good one. Do you have any gripes about the music business that you'd like to put on film? MM: Oh, well I'd like more money. I don't know. I can't think of one offhand. I mean it's terrible I know I have some, but I can't think of anything really serious except being put in a motel with no room service. That's probably one of my most serious gripes. MR: When jazz was connected with dancing and it then became more disconnected, do you think that hurt the music at all? Do you think it turned the music into something else that it wasn't conceived as first? MM: I don't know quite how to answer that but I do remember of course all these wonderful bands that people did dance to, and going to The Statler Hotel in New York with Jimmy night after night to hear Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's band with Jimmy, Newt and Tommy and then all the other bands, the Benny Goodman band and I mean I listened to big bands in England, I guess that's where I learned tunes, and to quote Wynton again, he has always said that jazz should be danced to. But then I remember playing some gigs where we would be quite huffy because they were dancing and not listening to us. And actually there's probably a lot to be said about that question because people dancing certainly knew all the tunes and loved the music. Maybe we should start doing that again. MR: Count Basie said he learned from watching people, how they reacted to the music, where to set the tempo. I guess was important to him anyway. MM: Well but in this particular area of where we are right now, when Jimmy and I used to play a gig at The Dinkler Hotel in Syracuse, the infamous Dinkler we called it. And people loved to dance. They were a bit loud actually, but I remember really enjoying that. Because we had Frank Tate on bass and we had a George - oh God isn't this awful, I mean he's a local drummer, a very good drummer, and we just played tune after tune after tune. That was when I was able to call on my extensive repertoire of tunes. And it was really a good experience, seeing how people loved us. And now things have changed so, I guess playing in a concert hall is a whole other thing and people do seem to like it. But I would never feel bad if I had to play for dancing. MR: One last thing I'd like to ask: when your parents found out that you were going to leave school to play in a Vaudeville act, I guess that they were not really in favor of this. MM: Oh, God. Well I didn't really know I was going to do that. I had gone to this piano player, Billy Mayall, thinking he would give me a few pointers about jazz. And I mean I was so stupid, he wasn't really a jazz player so much as a popular player, but of course he did play good chords and good harmony and everything and rhythms. And I didn't know he was starting this four-piano group and I guess I impressed him enough that he hired me right then. Of course anyway they were shocked and my father offered me a thousand pounds if I wouldn't go. And I said, "no, I want to go." And of course I did go, and I'm sure that there must have been terrible scenes in the family. I mean I didn't realize until years later how awful that would be for my family. And anyway- MR: And did they ever have the opportunity to see you doing your thing? MM: Unfortunately they didn't. One of my - he wasn't really an uncle he was a second cousin who was the Mayor of Windsor - Sir Cyril Dyson - he and his wife came over. They had a convocation of mayors or something like that, and he came to The Hickory House. And he really looked appalled. And after the set he said to me, "Margaret! Does your father know what you are doing?" Like I was playing in a brothel or something. MR: No kidding. MM: And I said, "well I'm only playing you know, I'm not-" Of course I was sitting in the center of the bar and they had all these bottles of booze around the bar, it wasn't the most elegant bar, but it was a great jazz place. But I always loved that. But no they didn't see me. But they read a lot of write-ups, and I suppose they might have been proud of me. But I think they were so mystified, like why would she want to do that when she could have settled down and got married to a lawyer or a doctor or something like that. Because what I did was not considered "nice" by them, definitely not nice. MR: Well we're very glad you did. MM: Oh, I'm very glad too, Monk. MR: Well I'm so pleased that you were able to join us for the Hamilton Jazz Archive. MM: Me too. MR: Where are you headed next? MM: Well, to Columbia, South Carolina. We're going to do a live "Piano Jazz" with Bobby Short. We just did one about four weeks ago with Tommy Flanagan in Cleveland. It's really fun doing a live, well live with an audience. And a lot more concertizing and "Piano Jazz" and more of the same. Schools, a couple of schools, and on and on. MR: Keep it up. MM: Yeah, I will. MR: Thanks so much. MM: Thank you.

List

Name Party Term Ref
Joseph Kirkland Federalist 1832–1836
John C. Devereux 1840
Horatio Seymour Democratic 1842–1843
Frederick Hollister Whig 1843–1844 [1]
Ward Hunt Democratic 1844
Joshua A. Spencer Whig 1848
Charles A. Doolittle 1853 [2]
Henry Hopkins Fish 1855–1856
Alrick Hubbell Republican 1856–1858 [3]
Roscoe Conkling Republican 1858–1859
Charles Stuart Wilson 1859–?
John Warren Butterfield 1865 [4]
John T. Spriggs Democratic 1868–1880
James S. Sherman Republican 1884-1885 [5][6]
Thomas E. Kinney Democratic 1885–1890 [7]
Alexander T. Goodwin Democratic 1890–1892
John G. Gibson 1896 [4]
Richard W. Sherman 1900–1901 [8]
Charles A. Talcott Democratic 1902–1906 [8]
Richard W. Sherman 1906–1908 [8]
Thomas Wheeler 1908–1910 [8]
Frederick Gillmore Democratic 1910–1912 [8]
Frank J. Baker Republican 1912–1914 [8]
James D. Smith 1914–1920 [8]
James K. O'Connor 1920–1922 [8]
Fred J. Douglas Republican 1922–1924 [8]
Frederick Gillmore Democratic 1924–1928 [8]
Fred J. Rath Republican 1928–1930 [8]
Charles S. Donnelley Democratic 1930–1934 [8]
Samuel Sloan Republican 1934–1936 [8]
Vincent R. Corrou Democratic 1936–1944 [8]
J. Bradley German Jr. Republican 1944–1946 [8]
Boyd Golder Democratic 1946–1956 [8]
John T. McKennan Democratic 1956–1959 [8]
Frank M. Dulan Republican 1959–1968 [8]
Dominick Assaro Democratic 1968–1972 [8]
Michael Caruso Republican 1972–1974 [8]
Edward A. Hanna Independent 1974–1978 [8]
Stephen J. Pawlinga Democratic 1978–1984 [8]
Louis D. LaPolla Republican 1984–1996 [8]
Edward A. Hanna Independent 1996–2000 [8]
Timothy J. Julian Republican 2000–2008 [8]
David R. Roefaro Democratic 2008–2012 [8]
Robert M. Palmieri Democratic 2012–present [8]

References

  1. ^ https://theyranforpresident.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/horatio-seymour/
  2. ^ Chester, Alden; Williams, Edwin Melvin (2004-08-11). Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, 1609-1925. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 9781584774242.
  3. ^ Life Sketches of Government Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York in 1859. J. Munsell. 1859-01-01. p. 59.
  4. ^ a b Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: Utica, New York". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  5. ^ "Municipal elections were held yesterday in several important cities and towns of this state". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. March 5, 1884. p. 2.
  6. ^ "The Grand Army: The State Encampment Opened in Utica; Election of Officers To-Day". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. February 5, 1885. p. 1.
  7. ^ Cooper, Jean L. (2013-12-15). "Thomas E. Kinney (3 Aug. 1841-4 Nov. 1899)". Students of the University of Virginia, 1825-1874. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Mayor's of Utica". www.cityofutica.com. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
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