Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On living seventy-one years ...

****** I love birthday celebrations, no matter who they honor. I host a birthday party every January 27th and April 8th, and a very exclusive bash on October 16th. (Correctly identify those three honorees and I will send you an autographed copy of "Dearest Duke").

****** I particularly enjoy my own birthdays. One of the most memorable took place at least twenty years ago when a group of close friends hosted an intimate gathering at The Jockey Club in Manhattan (Park Avenue South at the time). They had asked me months before the fact to describe a fantastic birthday. They then proceeded to make my fantasy come true: A snow-white cake of lightest texture with thick, white icing upon which sat a notably incorrect number of dainty candles; endless glasses of chilled champagne flowing without restraint, congratulatory messages from the great and the near-great (they even went to the trouble of making up a number of old-fashioned-looking telegrams, signed by luminaries such as the President, Frank Sinatra, Helen Keller and The Pope). I also received an extravagant, beautifully wrapped gift (a gorgeous Rolex Immy) presented with appropriate fanfare (not to mention the singing of a robust chorus of "Happy Birthday"). Very much a perfect anniversary.

****** Thursday, March 6: It's a pleasure to delay my birthday celebration this year to the day after the fact since my friend Bill Charlap, Peter Washington (b) and Kenny Washington (dr) are playing at The Regatta Bar in the Charles Hotel, Cambridge, just a few miles from my home. Buck and I were enjoying dinner in one of the hotel's fine restaurants when Bill joined us. His birthday present to me? He'd play any and all songs I requested. He also invited me to sing a song at the end of the set. One accepts such a splendid invitation without hesitation. I chose "Sophisticated Lady" and savoured every note we four produced. These musicians blend delicacy, precision, passion and incomparable intelligence that is always thrilling to hear but even more exhilerating when one actually participates. Thank you Bill, Kenny and Peter for such a lovely birthday.


Paul Mikos said...

Dear Sloaney;
I got the April 8th birthday right away (natch); Carmen McRae, and could October 16th be Buck Spur's, unless it's Oscar Wilde you celebrate? As for January 27th, I'm a little more perplexed. I'm thinking Jerome Kern, or possibly Mozart. Unless its Suzanne Summers!!
Hope I win. Either way, I wish you many more birthday celebrations!
Paul (mad4mcrae) Mikos

Sloane said...

Sorry, my friend. You have one out of three correct. Stay tuned as I monitor other submissions, hoping to announce a winner by the end of the month.

Mike said...

I vote for the wonderful Hot Lips and the sublime Etta.

Happy Birthday, Carol!

jpf_37 said...

Happy Birthday!

Other than the obvious Carmen, I don't have the names - yet - but I'm working on it.

Jon Foley

bth said...

Birthday parties: January 27th for Buck; April 8th for Carmen McCrae; October 16th for Bill Charlap...and happy birthday to you...bth

Mike said...

I see some great answers here (incl. my own), but perhaps I am "out of my league." All you folks that share Carol's love of sports as well as her devotion to jazz, might put on your (Red Sox) thinking caps?

Or perhaps I'm just thrashing around here to excuse the fact that I missed the catch. Mike