Monday, October 8, 2007

Jazz On Riverside Drive

October 8, 2007: My husband's frightening heart attack occured on Labor Day, about a month after the Riverside Drive concert took place. I apologize for the delay publishing this item.

I remember with great clarity my very first visit to New York City. It was 1953, and I was a passenger in a friend's car, driving from Rhode Island. I'm sixteen years old and tingling with excitement as we approached the city via the Henry Hudson Parkway, exiting at Riverside Drive.

"Riverside Drive"!!! Towers glittering in the twilight on the left: apartment houses, I was told. New Yorkers stacked on top of one another! Sophisticated and glamorous people like those in 1930's movies: every woman leading a languorous, luxurious life on a daily regimen of breakfast in bed, followed by cocktails and luncheon with friends, cocktail parties and Opening Nights on Broadway, jazz and cocktails and dinner parties, full-length sable coats and slender gowns of silk caressing their pencil-thin, slinky bodies. And cocktails. I have been a devotee of that fashion period all my life. Ladies wearing hats and furs and suits and gloves: the epitome of the well-dressed lady often portrayed in films by Claudette Colbert, Kay Francis or Myrna Loy. How stunningly elegant. How divine. How desirable!

Early Sunday evening August 5, 2007, starting at 6 PM, I sang some favorite songs for approximately 2,000 people at Riverside Park adjacent to Riverside Drive. What a great audience! Both glamorous and sophisticated, down-to-earth and unpretentious, families sharing picnics, children, people dancing and swaying to the pulse of my swinging trio. Because this was an outdoor concert on a balmy summer night, I could see all the people. It was all very free, warm, loose and predictably spontaneous: Jazz.

I had finished the first chorus of "In A Sentimental Mood" and pianist Norman Simmons began the start of the song the second time. I then saw a child of about 3, not only waving goodbye to everyone, but walking up to and warmly hugging three or four of the ladies seated in the front row. I thought perhaps they were his aunts. Naturally, I found this charming and sweet so I called out to him: "Am I gonna get some sugar too?" He was eager, so his Mother lifted him up to me. I got my hug and he grabbed the mike. He began singing wordless sounds absolutely in the chord and he brought the house down. I didn't expect any of it, and he may be the most memorable "sittin' in" guest who ever joined me on stage.

Thanks to all who bought "Dearest Duke", the latest cd. I was happy to sign them for you. And thanks to Mickey Bass and the folks who invited me to be there. Love to do it all again, any time.

There are two Carol Sloane videos at, one of which is a rendition of "Sophisticated Lady" as performed that afternoon. Go here and type Carol Sloane in the search envelope.

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