Sunday, November 21, 2010

Unforgettable Moment: Sonny Rollins & Ravi Coltrane

It was just after Sonny Rollins' fantastic 80th Birthday concert at New York City's Beacon Theater. I somehow found myself at the after party, which was being held in the concert halls' adjoining hotel - just a few floors up. The party was quite a scene itself -Sonny cut cake for everyone!

A friend and I were talking with Ravi Coltrane when, after a little while, it was our turn to say hey to Sonny and take a picture with him. After our picture was taken, my camera was used for Ravi's pictures with Sonny. After the pictures were finished being taken and the photographer handed me back my camera, I noticed that Ravi, in mid-conversation with Sonny, took off his glasses. As he did this, I noticed a surprised, almost shocked, expression come over Sonny's face.

After a couple of seconds passed, I heard Sonny say to Ravi, "Wow. You know, with your glasses off...I never realized how much you look like your father."

Memorable Meetings: Jim Hall

I was crossing 5th avenue at 12th street the other day when I noticed an old man walking his dog very slowly, hunched over quite a bit. As I got closer, I noticed that that man was jazz guitar great Jim Hall.

He was stopped for a moment, so I walked over and said hey. We ended up talking for quite a while and were having a nice conversation (he introduced my to his dog, Django), joking around a bit. He asked me if I'd like to see something funny.

We were standing very near to the New School University's Jazz Building and we saw a student with a bass coming towards us.

Jim looked at me and said, "I've had spine troubles recently - people don't really recognize me anymore."

He laughed, went up to the bass player and asked, "Excuse me - Is that a walking bass?"

The kid gave him a dirty look and continued on his way. Jim looked at me and we both started laughing. Through his laughter, he said, "I always do that. I think it's pretty funny. They just think I'm the dirty old man now, haha."

He was such a pleasant guy and it was such a joy to spend a few moments with him, one of my heroes.

Memorable Meetings: Paul Bley

I recently went to the Blue Note to hear jazz legends Paul Bley & Charlie Haden play duo. Walking out of the club's bathroom about ten minutes before the show, I saw Bley walking from his dressing room to the bathroom. He was walking very slowly and looked a bit frail, so I helped him to the bathroom, holding the door for him on his way in. We spoke briefly. Here's a little snippet of our conversation - the following bit being my first words to him.

Me, to Paul Bley: "You're one of my favorite musicians in the world."

Paul Bley, to me: "So there's some people you still haven't told me about?"