Monday, February 2, 2009

The Week That Was

It began with a nasty touch of food poisoning in the early hours of Monday, the 26th, and since this was my first experience with this most unwelcome intrusion, I can say with authority "it ain't fun". However, the rather uncomfortable hours from midnight to 8 AM were made a bit easier because Buck cared enough to forgo his night's sleep tending to my needs. What would I do without him? There is also the astonishing, very reassuring knowledge that a healthy body possesses the means necessary to preserve, protect, defend and eventually dispose of malevolent organisms. Word of advice: do not consume any food which tastes the slightest bit "off".


A friend sent along this absolutely wonderful opportunity to hear Jimmy Rowles singing "A Porter's Love Song To A Chambermaid". The cover of the album is a photograph of the Grand Canyon, and although I have no proof he chose it, the title is pure Rowles: "Kinda Groovy". This album is a rare gem, and I will happily exchange an autographed copy of my "Dearest Duke" for a burned copy of this LP. You heard me: an autographed copy of my "Dearest Duke" in exchange for a burned copy of "Kinda Groovy".

Here is the site: . Personnel include a stellar line-up:

Jimmie Rowles, Piano and Voice
Howard Roberts, Guitar
Max Bennett, Bass
Nick Martinis, Drums
Shelly Manne, Drums on 3 cuts
Recorded in Capitol Records' Studio A
Hollywood, California
October 23, 24, and 26, 1962
Dave Cavanaugh, Producer

John Updike R.I.P.

Upon learning of his death, I went to my bookshelves to take count of the number of Updikes I own. The count is a rather meager sixteen considering the numbers he wrote, but I can boast that they are all first editions. He often sends me scurrying to the dictionary for clarification of a word or words which even in context are indecipherable. It's the same with the dear Baroness James of Holland Park. I usually write down the little speed bump and check its definition at the end of the chapter.

I watched the Charlie Rose show on Jan. 29th to hear a distinguished panel discuss Updike and his work: Judith Jones, Senior Editor and V.P. at Knopf, David Remnick, Editor of The New Yorker magazine, and Sam Tanenhaus, Editor of The New York Times Book Review. The discussion was intellectually stimulating and enlightening since these three and Charlie Rose enjoyed frequent dialogue with Updike. I am eagerly anticipating the Feb. 9/16 combined issue which I believe will feature a very long poem Updike began when he first received the cancer diagnosis, and continuing through the course of treatment. Updike was somewhat obsessed with his own demise, so it will be interesting to read his impressions and perspective and method of dealing with it all. I am truly sorry he encountered the dreaded moment at the comparatively early age of 76.

Favorite Updikes: "Of The Farm", all the Rabbit books, "The Centaur" and of course, his legendary essay "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu"

In 1999, Ted Williams appeared at Fenway Park in Boston for the All-Star Game and was introduced as one of the top 30 players on baseball's All-Century team. Williams, 80 and in perilous health, was driven on the field at Fenway Park in a golf cart before the game, and he stood up long enough to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

He immediately was surrounded by players from both All-Star teams in an emotional scene near home plate. The game was held up for 14 minutes while the greatest hitter of the past six decades laughed and talked with his admirers, comfortable at last on baseball's center stage. It would prove to be his last baseball-related appearance. And as his golf cart exited the field, he tipped his hat to the crowd several times.

I received a telephone call from Bill Charlap, one of the other men I love, while he was stopping in LA as part of the 51-city Blue Note Seven North American tour. Here is the itinerary: Bill Charlap Tour . At this writing, the group is on hiatus, set to resume on February 17. If the Blue Note Seven are within 100 miles of your location, make every effort to see them. You can't possibly be disappointed.


Hibernation in New England, more snow predicted for tomorrow, with the ever-stronger glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel: 9 days, 18 hours to Pitchers and Catchers at Fort Meyers, Florida, start of Red Sox spring training schedule. Hurray!


For everyone in New York City: My friend Carol Fredette will sing at The Iridium tomorrow night, delighting the audience and promoting her new cd "Everything In Time". Go to hear her and buy her cd. She's marvelous and always has been.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, I'm the bass player on the album, "Kinda Groovy" . Quite a bit of the story isn't like what really happened. You can reach me by my email. Max Bennett.

Colm O'Sullivan "Red", said...

Please tell us what the great Max Bennett has to say...!!!
RED (Long time Carol Sloane fan and record holder in Ireland).