Archive for the ‘Stories from the past’ Category

I have interesting answer to this question with this week being the anniversary of JFK’s assassination and all the media attention to the 50th Anniversary of the event.

On November 22nd 1963 I was 19 years old and had been playing trombone for 3 years since I was 16.

I went to see my idol big band the Stan Kenton Orchestra in my home town Birmingham UK.

The band was superb and his version of West Side Story was an anthem to us young musicians.

The band had the 4 Mellophoniums plus 4 trombones and 5 trumpets and a full sax section.

They had played about 3 or 4 songs when the concert suddenly stopped and Kenton walked off  to stage left.

He came back and walked to the microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas,Texas.

The band were visibly shaken and so were the audience.

Stan Kenton then announced the band would play “God Bless America” as a tribute.

Which they did and it was the most amazing arrangement of the song I have ever heard with the soaring Mellophoniums and trombones.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Personel was as follows as far as I can determine:

Stan Kenton (piano); Joel Kaye (piccolo, bass saxophone); Gabe Baltazar (alto saxophone); Ray Florian, Steve Marcus (tenor saxophone); Archie Wheeler (baritone saxophone); Bob Behrendt, Ronnie Ossa, Gary Slavo, Ron Keller (trumpet); Jiggs Whigham (trombone, tenor trombone); Bob Curnow (tenor trombone); Dave Wheeler (bass trombone, tuba); Jim Amlotte (bass trombone); Chris Swanson (valve trombone); John Worster (double bass); Dee Barton (drums) plus the Mellophoniums Bob Faust,Tony Scodwell,David Horten and Bob Crull as far as I can determine.

The concert was amazing and very memorable and its strange it seems like yesterday





Here’s an interesting news story that reminds me of another personal encounter I had with Keith.

As a good friend of mine and fellow manager said “This is getting old with Keith, but on the other hand, maybe he’s just trying to cop a stick for himself. I know if I went to a concert to hear him play, and instead heard him rant I’d get pretty pissed”

Wise words my friend.

But my story takes place in Japan at the New Otani Hotel,Tokyo in an elevator to the 54th floor some 15 years ago.

We were on our way back to our boxes after the most amazing performance at the Tokyo Music Joy Festival of the Mozart Double Piano Concerto.

In those days we stayed at the New Otani at $600 per night and the hotel rooms were amazing with incredible views.

We called them “our Boxes” as many the night after weeks on the road thats what they felt like and someone made the comment one night “come on guys its time to go to your boxes (Hotel Rooms) and it stuck.

Its road talk and you had to be there.

Anyway by some fluke I found myself in the elevator with Keith and his wife  going up into the 50’s floor  levels.

I was a little “star stuck” as I love Keith’s playing and I think he’s a genius so I started to try to compliment him on his performance and say what a fantastic show it was and it “was” amazing.

But nothing…. no one said anything … response to my comments in fact Keith wouldn’t even make eye contact with me it was amazing.

They got off the elevator before me and never even said goodnight.

I felt like a complete idiot and very embarrassed having made a complete blubbering fool of myself.

So I guess Keith’s “good manners” don’t extend to long elevator rides either but at least I wasn’t coughing and ruining his performance.

Boy was I glad to get into my box!!