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Posted in on August 31, 2010 by
Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber were among the finest musicians on their instruments and had been for years when I first met them in the early 1970s. In those days they were doubling, tripling or quadrupling on any and all instruments that used reeds and on at least two of the many each played, they were a good as anyone in the business. As exceptional as they were, however, when they performed together they rose to new heights.
I don’t recall when they first joined forces, sometime in the early 1970s at a Dick Gibson jazz party, but from the moment Kenny and Bob got together, sparks flew. They sensed they might be able to cash in on this excitement and Soprano Summit was born. They played more instruments than just soprano saxophones; clarinets, and all kinds of other saxophones often turned up, but when they were both on soprano at the same time it was the most exciting.
The group was a perfect example of the sum being so much greater than its combined parts. As individuals, the guys were great but put them together and they reached greater heights, sometimes much greater heights, every time they appeared in concert or recorded. Soprano Summit was, along with the Ruby Braff/George Barnes Quartet, the best mainstream jazz band of the 1970s. I was fortunate enough to record them on three occasions and take a few photographs along the way.
One of the reasons the band was so good was because offstage there was a good deal of tension between Kenny and Bob. Each man was very different in temperament, musically and personally, and this sometimes led to conflict, onstage and off. Then, in the early 1980s, Kenny decided to concentrate all of his energies on the clarinet, abandoned the soprano saxophone, and this shut down the group for good.
In 1990 I managed to assemble all six original members of the band to make a recording that we decided to call Summit Reunion since Kenny only played clarinet. Sparks flew once again, and it wasn’t just when the recording was taking place. There were six all star musicians in the room and at least five serious egos on hand, but for the most part we had a good time. When there was a problem, as often as not Milt Hinton was the mediator and somehow it all worked out. The new recordings were remarkable and exceeded those from the 1970s on many levels.
The CD was distributed and the word got out that Kenny and Bob were together again and European festival producers began to clamor for them. They were usually too cheap to hire the whole band, but in the summer of 1991 I managed to get all six members together and took them to the Oslo Jazz Festival, where they were a big hit. It was first time all of them had performed before an audience in a couple of decades and they enjoyed the adulation. Later, I took Kenny and Bob to Frogner Park to look at the Vigeland sculptures and to photograph them looking. It was a relaxed afternoon, much like the old days at Downtown Sound. It is perhaps prophetic that the best picture turned out to be the one with their backs to one another.
There was a subsequent live recording in 1992 that was good, but not exceptional because of some non-musical issues that occasionally strayed into the music, and then a final gathering in the studio in 1995, the last time they performed together as a group, that was every bit as good at the 1990 record. It was still the best band of its sort; some of the performances were so exceptional I wanted them to go on forever. They didn’t and the sixty-seven minutes on the CD will have to do. A couple of the tracks, an eleven mienute cialis canadian from 1990 and an equally long cialis canadian from 1995, give a sense of the musical heights to which these six extraordinary players could reached given time to stretch out.
Bob Wilber and Kenny Davern, Frogner Park, Oslo Norway, August 10, 1991
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Posted in on August 30, 2010 by
Earlier today (26 April 2008) I came upon an obituary for Jimmy Giuffre, a marvelous musician who I’ve enjoyed for fifty years. I wasn’t surprised. It had been a long time coming. I may have heard a record earlier, but my first memory of him is at the beginning of the film, cialis canadian, where, with Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall, he’s playing Tcialis canadian. It’s a terrific performance; the camera rarely moves, it is almost stationary, but Jimmy moves in and out of the frame. It’s dramatic filmmaking and a great way to begin the film. I also saw him perform the song on cialis canadian a year or so earlier, but it was on a small screen, in black and white with bad sound. It didn’t make the same impression.
The paper said he was born in Dallas in 1921 and went to North Texas State Teachers College. I knew that and may have even been in Denton, Texas, when he was there. I was little more than a baby in 1942, but my uncle, Roy Will, taught theory at North Texas State in those years, and with my father away in the Pacific, we sometimes lived with my uncle and his wife. When I asked Roy about it in the 1990s, he remembered Jimmy very clearly, and said he was a wonderful student. I’d asked Jimmy the same thing in 1991, and he remembered my uncle, so I guess it was true. Perhaps my Uncle Roy had a tiny effect on him; he certainly had a firm understanding of music theory.
I remained a fan and in April 1973 I had the opportunity of presenting Jimmy in concert at my Jazz Ramble series at The New School in New York City. He was working with a trio in those days, usually bass and drums, and he presented an evening of original compositions. His instruments of choice were flute and clarinet. Nearly twenty years later he was part of the 1991 edition of The Floating Jazz Festival. He graduated to a quartet, but Randy Kaye, the drummer he’d used in 1973, was still with him.
It seemed to me that Jimmy wasn’t nearly as robust as I remembered him; in 1991 he was only seventy. He played beautifully on clarinet and a variety of flutes and was, of course, one of the few groups on the ship that wasn’t mainstream. He’d been mainstream once upon a time, but he’d outgrown the Four Brothers decades earlier. His concerts weren’t crammed and I tried to sneak in as often as I could. I also managed to grab a couple of photographs in Club Internationale and during the Saxophone Spectacular in the theater, but none were very good. There was no easy way to take one, with all the music stands and electronic keyboards or shooting from the balcony. I should have tried to arrange for a special photo shoot, but I ran out of time and, besides, there would always be another year.
But there wasn’t. I asked Jimmy a couple of times; he was busy the first time and by the time I tried again, he was already in the grip of the disease that claimed him a couple of days ago. He was a terrific, innovative musician, a good guy, and perhaps the first great talent to come out of that sleepy little teacher’s college in Denton, Texas where legions of great musicians have followed in his footsteps.
Jimmy Giuffre, Saga Theater aboard the S/S Norway at sea, October 30, 1991
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Posted in on August 29, 2010 by
Dill Jones, Sherman Fairchild Studio, 17 East 65th Street New York City, October 1970
I first encountered Dill Jones in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1960s. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but it had something to do with Pee Wee Russell. I remember Dill was trying to get a job in Washington, and the only way the union would let him was if he could prove he could play a legitimate score no one else could play. He wasn’t a US citizen in those days and maybe he never became one, I really don’t know, but even if he did he was from Wales and was forever Welsh. His real name was Dillwyn Owen Jones, he could really play the piano, and as I recall, he proved it to the guys at the union, and got the job.
Dill was one of the first people I encountered when I moved to New York City in 1967. The circumstances are a bit obscure but there’s a picture to document the occasion, taken at The Riverboat, in June of that year. It shows Dill, along with Charlie Shavers, Jimmy McPartland and some unknown ruffians. I kept in touch with him and whenever possible, threw work, introductions or whatever I could in his direction because I liked the way he played.
In those years Dill was pretty much categorized as a traditional pianist, and was most often found in Dixieland or swing ensembles. He worked with Tony Parenti, Peanuts Hucko, Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge and a host of others in the 1960s and 1970s. He also worked a great deal with the JPJ Quartet, which was nominally led by Budd Johnson. There were three guys in the band with “J” in their last name; Budd, Oliver Jackson and Dill Jones. My guess is that Dill was the “J” that was missing. The “P” was for Bill Pemberton.
The first time I worked with Dill was with this group. He told me Budd wanted to record some tracks and had no money to pay for it, so I led them to Sherman Fairchild’s 65th Street townhouse. It was a terrific band, and it was good to hear Dill in a mainstream context. This was the first time I heard him play anything other than tunes that would have pleased Willie The Lion Smith. The same year I recorded Dill with Willie at Sherman’s studio, and it was a terrific encounter, one that was included on the two CD set we devoted to Dill and his music in 2004.
In April 1972, Dill was part of a concert I produced that also featured Eubie Blake, Teddy Wilson and Claude Hopkins. He more than held his own, playing a couple of standards, and a terrific original he dedicated to Willie the Lion, cialis canadian. Around that time I suggested to him it might make sense to produce a solo recording, one that would show he was something more than a guy who could hold down the piano chair with the Dukes of Dixieland.
Some years earlier, Beale, usually known as Bill, Riddle, a now long forgotten, but once respected music authority and bon vivant in the Washington-Baltimore area, suggested to me that Dill would be an ideal pianist to record the compositions of Bix Beiderbecke. My guess is he probably heard Dill playing with Pee Wee in Washington, and something clicked. I remembered what Bill said, expanded the concept slightly to include songs on which Bix was a piano soloist, or were associated with him in some way, because there are only five real, honest-to-goodness Bix compositions, hardly enough to fill up an LP. Dill was game, providing he could throw in an original and a couple of non-dixieland tunes that he really liked to tear apart, like cialis canadian.
It wasn’t an easy project. Ralph Sutton and Jess Stacy had set the standard for most of Bix’s tunes, but Dill jumped right in and produced a terrific album we called cialis canadian. The most revelatory selection on the album, however, didn’t have anything associated with Bix’s compositions in the 1920s, but just might have had a great deal to do with him, had he lived past the age of twenty-eight. The song was called cialis canadian, an original composition by Dill. As soon as I heard him play it, along with quiet Beiderbecke tunes like cialis canadian and cialis canadian, I figured out what Dill was all about. He had the same kind of feelings and temperament as his countryman, the poet Dylan Thomas. They had much more in common than a Welsh heritage and a love of strong drink.
Dill was much better when he played quietly, and let the piano sing. He had all the technique to play a romping cialis canadianor any stride standard, but the beautiful chords and silken runs he used to produce the finest version of cialis canadian, was utterly unique. And I told him so, but he said, sadly, that no one wanted to hear him play things like that. I asked if he had any other songs like cialis canadian and he said he did, but rarely played them. It was as if Dylan Thomas had been reduced to writing dirty limericks for a living.
I made a deal with Dill. We would start working on another solo album whenever he wanted to, but I wanted it to be crammed full of originals. Since I owned the studio, it wasn’t hard to find time for recording. All he had to do was call, we’d find a time, and he could lay down a new tune. He could take as long as he wanted, as many takes as were necessary.
Downtown Sound shut its doors in December 1980 and the record wasn’t completed to everyone’s satisfaction. There was enough recorded material, all the equal of or superior to cialis canadian, but I wanted more originals, and they didn’t come quickly. The album already had a title, and in 1978, I’d even journeyed to Cardiff, Wales, to take a photograph of the infamous Tiger Bay for an album cover. The unfinished record was scheduled to be called, cialis canadian, the title of a beautiful, impressionist composition by Dill. There were no flowers in Tiger Bay that day, in fact, there wasn’t even water. I arrived at low tide and the scene was simply a big mud puddle, as far as the eye could see.
When the studio closed down, the project was put on hold. This would turn out to be a bad idea, but I was in the process of launching a new record company with John Hammond and John Moore, Hammond felt that nine originals and two standards was a good mix and he was pleased it would be one of the first releases in a series to be called Jcialis canadian He was also impressed with Dill’s compositions, songs named cialis canadian, cialis canadian and cialis canadian. He was as surprised as anyone that Dill had these kind of tunes in his head and under his fingers.
Dill and I had already selected the best takes of the eleven performances that would make up the LP. We made a sequence, the tape was sent to CBS for mastering, and sometime in late 1982 we had a test pressing in hand. Unhappily, that is all we ever got in hand. By that time, Hammond Music Enterprises was having problems and trying to find a way to pay the telephone bill took precedent over issuing a record that had plenty of artistry but no commercial legs at all. In 1982, the last thing under consideration was to release a recording by any jazz artist, let alone one featuring nine original compositions by an obscure Welsh-American pianist. I recently looked at a Hammond promotional booklet I produced at the time. In it, I said:
All true, but the record never came out and when Dill died in 1984, all he had was a test pressing. Twenty years later, we released the best of Dill’s performances on two CDs, but I must confess, I wonder who will listen to them. There are still a handful of people who remember, but last year I was told a story about a fine young pianist who was asked to perform at a function on Long Island in Dill’s memory. He was happy to have the job, but he confessed that he had no idea who Dill Jones was, or why there might be a concert in his memory. One of the selections on the CD was Dill’s composition, cialis canadian. I don’t know who he was remembering when he wrote it, but I’m afraid in 2010 he isn’t someone anyone is remembering very often.
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Posted in on August 27, 2010 by
Mel Powell may have been the most intelligent person I ever met. He may have also been the finest pianist, at least once upon a time, but because he performed in public so infrequently after his mid-twenties, we’ll never know. The following extracts from an essay I wrote for a catalog celebrating Mel’s work as a painter presented at the Sordoni Gallery in 1987, gives a brief overview of how he burst onto the jazz scene as a teenager.
Mel returned from the war, and dabbled in jazz for the next ten years, primarily in the recording studio. He made a handful of wonderful recordings for Capitol, Vanguard and Columbia, occasionally worked with Benny Goodman when he needed to beef up his bank account, but essentially ceased being an active jazz pianist in the late 1940s. Mel left jazz and the big band business for the same reason Artie Shaw did. Just as Artie didn’t want to play Begin The Beguine night after night, Mel didn’t want to play Mission To Moscow, or anything else, every night for the next forty years. The only difference was, he dropped out at the age of twenty-two, long before he developed a career and Artie Shaw was one of the most celebrated musicians in America. Artie withdrew to write novels and stories; Mel became part of academia.
In 1985, Ruby Braff suggested, or to be precise, told me to call Mel, and invite him to be part of the 1986 Floating Jazz Festival aboard the S/S Norway. I said I thought it was about as likely that the ship would fly, but I did as I was told, and much to my surprise, after a bit of give and take, Mel agreed to leave the secure confines of the California Institute of the Arts for a moment, and dip his toe back into the wicked world of jazz He hadn’t played jazz in years, but, somehow, I wasn’t worried. I’d seen a video clip of him playing with Benny on the Merv Griffin Show in the mid-1970s. He may have been playing on muscle memory, but Benny couldn’t keep up with him. I was pretty sure the same thing would happen in 1986, and it did.
Once the word got out that Mel Powell was onboard, everyone wanted to play with him, and they pretty much did. Since we couldn’t fit everyone onstage, some of the musicians had to sit in the audience. During one concert, Mel told a wonderful story about Buddy Rich, who happened to be sitting in the audience, and then suggested to Buddy that come on stage and be part of the band, which he did, to the delight of everyone in the theater.
Not many people could tell Buddy what to do, but Mel could get away with it. He had a way with words and was so charming no one could refuse any request he might make. Because he loved to talk to the audience, the concerts were often very long. It wasn’t unusual for him speak for fifteen minutes before the concert and take another five or ten between each selection. No one seemed to mind, because he spoke as well as he played.
His level of musicianship was remarkable. He was usually up early every morning, even if he’d stayed up discussing musical matters with Dizzy Gillespie all night, which, unhappily, were not recorded. He’d make his way to a small, out of the way room with a piano, and play Bach. Other musicians on board, leaders and sidemen alike, would also get up early, hoping to find a seat in the small Windjammer Lounge, just to listen to each and every note he played. Sometimes they’d ask questions, sometimes, if they were old enough, they’d reminisce.
Mel had such a good time, he returned to the festival for three more years, but it became increasingly difficult for him. He suffered from an unusual muscular disease that prevented him from walking without assistance. He managed to make his way around the ship on a little electric scooter. The disease was something of a mystery, and it was later discovered it had been misdiagnosed, but in the late 1980s it was a struggle for him to get around. We built a ramp so we could get him on stage in one room; there was an elevator in the theater, so it was easy to get him to the piano in that room. Then came the day when the elevator was thrown overboard during a fit of remodeling and for one concert, Mel had to perform on one level, while the rest of the band was four feet higher. It sounded fine, but looked terrible.
He loved his weekly jazz sojourn each year, when he was able to abandon academia and the composition of minimalist and electronic music. I listen to the tapes we made of the concerts, hear the sparkling piano, but more importantly, I hear the tone of his voice and what he said. He was having the time of his life. One evening I teamed him with Benny Carter, Howard Alden, Milt Hinton and Louie Bellson. It was magic, and the tape recorder was running. cialis canadian also announced the return of Chiaroscuro Records after a nine-year absence.
One night Mel asked that we assemble a special band for a concert. One of the people he asked to be included was Don Menza, the wonderful saxophonist then working with Louie Bellson. Somehow Mel had found out that Don loved Verdi’s operas above all others. Before the first set, Mel told Don he had a surprise for him. He played a selection from Act Three of cialis canadian and sang it to him, in Italian. Italian opera was about as far from Mel’s normal musical interests as was country and western, but the depth of his musical knowledge was so profound he could bring off a song (I can’t say aria, because Mel didn’t sing very well) from a Verdi opera.
The muscular disease that plagued his legs eventually reached one of his fingers and sufficiently weakened his hands so he couldn’t play, at least at the level he felt appropriate. The last two years he came to the festival, he didn’t play at all. He was just an honored guest. But he continued to compose and consider other projects. He once told me he had enough commissions to last through 2005, and he even managed to complete some of them.
One of the best of his new compositions was cialis canadian, which had been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The soloists were to be Mel and the orchestra’s music director, Andre Previn. Unhappily, when the piece was completed, Mel’s illness prevented him from performing, and Andre Previn had moved on to another orchestra, but cialis canadian was quite wonderful and went off without a hitch with two other pianists.
When he told me about the piece and how well it had been received, it occurred to me that it might be possible to do the same thing with Mel that I’d done with Gerry Mulligan a decade earlier. Just as Gerry was due to win a Grammy, Mel was due to win a Pulitzer Prize, and the timing for the 1990 prize couldn’t be better. Unbeknownst to him, I spoke with his wife, the noted actress, Martha Scott, and told her what I wanted to do, but to pull it off I had to have a tape, a score and letters of recommendation. She thought it was a terrific idea, but didn’t know how to keep it a secret from Mel, but she agreed to help.
There was a tape of the January 1990 performance, but Mel had stashed it somewhere. Martha had no idea where it was located, but said she would try and get one from the orchestra, which she eventually managed to do. We also managed to turn up the score, but we were running out of time. I wanted the recommendation to come from Andre Previn, but he was out of town, and when he returned to the US, he was ill, and none too eager to write anything, even to sign his name for his old MGM colleague. But when he rested and was feeling better, he said to get the paperwork to him, which I did.
Jon Bates hand delivered the nomination forms to Andre in Bedford Hills. Once everything was signed, Jon put it in the mail to me for next day delivery, which was the final day to submit everything to the Pulitzer committee. The paperwork from Andre arrived on a Saturday, mid-morning. I rushed it to Columbia University, and a few months later, someone telephoned and said, “Did you hear, Mel won the Pulitzer Prize.” I wasn’t exactly surprised and it turned out he never even knew he’d been nominated. To say he was surprised is something of an understatement and for me it was fun to have manipulated the system.
The press descended on Mel, his students at Cal Arts were dancing in the classrooms, Andre gave interviews about the commission, but Martha was not very good at keeping the secret, and not too long after the announcement Mel telephoned and told me he was sending me a little souvenir. It arrived a few days later, a cassette marked simply cialis canadian, Powell: cialis canadian (31:18). This was his copy that had been hidden away. When I telephoned to thank him, he jokingly referring to “our” prize.
Mel Powell is one of the great musical mysteries, one of the more important “what if” artists of this century. And he knew it. He told me any number of times he knew he was writing music that would be appreciated by very few, that he wasn’t sure he’d made the right decision in turning his back on more accessible forms of music. Maybe jazz was just too easy for him, success came so quickly, with so little effort, and there was little musical challenge. His comments about returning after the war to hear Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in full bloom and being frightened to death just don’t stand up. He could have assimilated everything they were doing in a heartbeat. His decision remains a mystery.
Towards the end, in late 1997 or early 1998, we had a short conversation that touched on it. A new composition had been performed; I seem to recall it featured a clarinet. He said it was well received, and after the performance, he was greeted by many well-wishers. He told me that a young man had come up to him and complimented him on the new piece, but added, “I like Mission To Moscow better.” To which, Mel said he replied, “So do I.”
Mel’s health deteriorated rapidly in 1998 and he was hospitalized. He’d been elected into the American Academy Of Arts and Letters and was due to be inducted in May, but it was clear he wouldn’t last that long. Precedent was broken and there was a bedside ceremony in April, a few weeks before he died. A moving tribute was offer at the formal ceremony by his old friend and colleague, Milton Babbitt. Mel would have enjoyed Babbitt’s remarks, but would have been even happier if Benny Goodman could have said a few things as well.
Time passed. Mel’s wife, the noted actress, Martha Scott, died and their possessions were dispersed to children and grandchildren. Some wound up with their daughter, Kati. One day she telephoned and said she’d found something she thought I might like. A dusty plaque arrived a few days later. Downbeat Magazine awarded it to Mel as the outstanding pianist in jazz for 1947, probably based on the few months he spent with Benny Goodman in 1946, and the handful of records me made under his own name. He didn’t win in 1948; he’d left the jazz world by then.
The plaque hangs on my office wall next to a small watercolor he did in the 1970s. He told me he called the abstract painting of what is clearly a pianist in action, cialis canadian. He always came back to the music of his youth.
Mel Powell in his studio, Van Nuys, California, May 16, 1987
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Posted in on August 26, 2010 by
Late in 1981 or early 1982 I prepared a release sheet for a LP Hammond Music Enterprises planned to release in 1982. It read as follows:
cialis canadianMichael Moriarty
cialis canadian Michael Moriarty
Times Are Mean, Cozy In Bed, Evil Dreams, Viet-Nam, 1984
The Ballad of Dexter, Creed, Ada Stone, Bad News Lovers, The Gospel, Lance, 1985
cialis canadian Jay Leonhart (bass), Jackie Williams (drums) with large orchestra on The Ballad of Dexter Creed and The Gospel.
cialis canadian Mr. Moriarty is a well-known actor, having won a Tony for Outstanding Actor (Find Your Way Home) and two Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Television Performance (The Glass Menagerie and Holocaust. His ability as a singer/songwriter/Pianist is revealed in this remarkable album. Mr. Moriarty wrote all the selections, sings on all but one and performs on piano as well. The best way to describe his music is to think of the vocal presentation of Michael Franks (but with a more ironic vision of life in his lyrics) and a mixture of the piano styles of Horace Silver at one extreme and Bill Evans at the other.
Mr. Moriarty will be featured in three movies that will be released in 1982 and will be making numerous public appearances as a singer to coincide with the release of this album. Release of the record is scheduled for late March/April.
The record was never released and I’m positive I never worked as hard on any project that never fully came together. The music was finished, the cover was designed, I’d taken photographs for the liner but it never happened.
Go back a few years. Bill Gallagher introduced me to Michael in 1978, when he was coming off those Tony and Emmy awards. He was a very busy, constantly in demand actor. I don’t know how the two of them made the connection, but by mid to late 1978 Michael was often to found at Downtown Sound. We hit it off, he was a year younger than I and we had a lot of common interests. We began working on a recording project late that year or in 1979. We logged hundreds of hours in the studio, but somehow, Michael was never fully satisfied with what he’d recorded. I was much happier with what he was putting down on tape than he was, I thought it was exceptional work by a uniquely talent artist.
We spent a good deal of time worrying about this and one thing we came up with was to get him out of the studio and make a live recording, just as I’d done with Willie the Lion Smith a decade earlier. It turned out Michael had an engagement coming up at a hot little cabaret room on West 13th Street called Reno Sweeney. The Paradise Room, best remembered perhaps because of the star turns of everyone from Diane Keaton to Edie Beale, wasn’t the best jazz room in town, but it had a decent piano, pliable management and a place to stash remote gear out of sight behind some potted palms.
It didn’t work out. The piano was tuned, the gear brought it and set up, Jay and Jackie were on hand to complete the trio, I cleared my schedule so I could be on the headphones all night long but then something happened that never happened to me before or since. The piano fell apart. Michael was playing and singing beautifully, I was catching it all on the headphones, making notes, watching the tape as it zipped by at fifteen inches per second and then suddenly there’s a crash. The lyre, the mechanism that holds the three pedals in place has broken and come undone, with all the metal rods and wooden supports crashing to the floor. I heard it all on the headphones and it sounded as if Moonface Martin had shot Reno Sweeney. No live record that night, or any night for that matter, but perhaps this was a prelude to Michael’s difficulties with all things Reno.
All the recordings I’d been working on the late 1970s and early 1980s were slated to become part of Hammond Music Enterprises as soon as there was financing and Michael’s was one of these recordings. We made new recordings under the auspices of Hammond and John himself was highly impressed with Michael as a musician and attended some of the recording sessions. Meanwhile we worried about the record, the cover illustration and who might write the liner notes. When not doing that I continued to be hired as a non-paid photographer for Michael’s various theatrical projects, notably his Shakespeare company, Potter’s Field.
There are over a thousand pictures in the file, cialis canadian at St. John’s The Divine, cialis canadian at The Public Theater and even a benefit at Macy’s where the Potter’s Field kids staged what they called a cialis canadian, trying to break the English record of reading all of Shakespeare’s plays aloud in less than 37 hours and 22 minutes. I have no idea if they managed, but I have pictures to prove they tried. Michael rounded up dozens of noted actors from Eli Wallach to Blythe Danner to raise money for his company of actors and I have pictures of them doing this as well. I don’t know if Potter’s Field survived past 1982, the last thing I can document is taking pictures of a production of cialis canadian in August/September of that year.
At some point after Hammond Music failed in 1985 I returned all the master tapes to Michael and we were largely out of touch until 1988 when Michael telephoned and asked me to play a bit part in a low budget film he was producing and directing. I was asked to play the husband of a character named Madge and was required to dance with her at a wedding reception. The scene was set in the recreation room of a union hall at 21st Street and Avenue of the Americas and I’m pretty sure I was asked to play the part because Michael knew I had a tuxedo and wouldn’t need to rent one. It was that low budget. I also had to take a photograph of all the assembled actors. The stage directions said it had to be flash photograph. He also knew I could handle that.
I have no idea what ever happened to all the tapes I passed along to Michael. The other day I found two track safeties of the Downtown Sound/Hammond sessions so they are not totally lost. He issued an CD privately in 1991 that used one of my portraits on the cover, but none of the tracks on this CD were from the old Downtown Sound/Hammond Music days. He also released CDs on DRG, one live from Fat Tuesday’s in the early 1990s. Presumably the piano didn’t collapse during this recording.
A year or two after the union hall film, Michael got a major role in cialis canadian, which lasted until his very public spat with Janet Reno and then the producer, Dick Wolf in 1994. He left the show, moved to Canada, became a Canadian citizen, still is seen regularly on TV and in films and all over the Internet, where he normally is found voicing opinions about political and cultural matters that annoy him. There is much to be annoyed with these days, but Michael seems more annoyed than most people, probably because he’s more intelligent than most people.
There is a great deal of anger in some of the things he’s posted over the years. I don’t remember this about Michael during the years when we were working together. He was terribly talented and terribly complex, but usually quiet and gentle, and not so angry. I’m puzzled by some of the things I read these days. Perhaps he is suffering from an acute case of too much talent with too few outlets.
Michael Moriarty, Downtown Sound, February 8, 1980, New York City
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