Poem to be read at Connie Crothers Memorial in duet with Ratzo Harris — November 13, 2o16
Please click the red arrow on the left to listen to Ratzo B. Harris and Mark Weber.
Catamow kokay cee ko, yobebamboo, ka ka — kay kee koko kah reeree — reel reeAH oh ah [breathe — relax]Oh [explore this mouth formation]Oh ah ahLo, lo long eheh it it’s, Asas long as oh,oh as long long waylong way longas long as it’s real [x2]ko ka kay kee [x2 slower]we are all floating in spacelike the old poem says: Are weclimbing the mountain, or isthe mountain moving under us?ka ka ko kee, connieWhen a close friend dies you become super-sensitive to living things:Don’t step on bugs, don’t pull even a weed in the garden, listen to the birds more closelyka ka ko kee, ConnieShe first said that to me when I was explaining a text thatI was having trouble writing: Mark, as long as it’s realEvery day I hear her saying thisImagine a young woman leaving California by train to come to this city — 1962 — she had onlya suitcase when she arrived at Penn Station (the old Penn Station before it was tore down in 1964) —she didn’t know anyone, had hardly any money to speak of, found lodging at the YMCA — Conniehad left college, left a marriage, left her family in the San Francisco Bay Area —she was after meaningfulnessand needed to know if this jazz was going to be a part of who she intended to be — she came toNYC to study with Lennie Tristanoka ka ko kee, ConnieWe were attracted to her uncompromising determination, her diligence, forthwith resolve,her total commitmentto that dreamwe all aspired to in our youthIt would be interesting to know more about Connie’s first ten years in New York City — I alwaysimagine a lot of time alone, a lot of time sitting watching out windows, a long gestation period, studying piano and thinking about music — I read somewhere that New York City willgive you the gift of loneliness [E.B. White]This long gestation period (she was 32 before taking her first public gigs) gave her a certain compassionfor her student’s aspirations —-You always sensed she went through a lot of trials in these early years in the city, that old selfsamedark night of the soul — New York was a tougher place back thenOver the telephone some years ago I was remonstrating about how busy I was with various writingprojects and deadlines, so much so that I realized all those youthful yearnings to be a successfulartist had come to pass, and actually beyond expectations, I was even working with ConnieCrothers, but all of it somewhat overwhelming, I say to Connie to tell her students to be careful what you hope for you just might get it, and she corrected me, and this is pure Connie: “No, Mark, anticipate what you hope for!”ka ka ko kee, ConnieHer piano could be like the oceandeep greenthe New York subway, pressing onTornados or ships calmly settling into portloaded with lapis lazuli, electrum, wine, silk & clairvoyancea gossamer dream
–Mark WeberSept-Oct 2o16
Connie at lunch in her neighborhood July 11, 2010 at The Diner, Williamsburg — photo by Mark Weber — That dream we all had of creating the best most honest music we could . . . .
Connie Crothers at Sal Mosca’s studio — jam session — Jimmy Halperin (tenor), Don Messina (bass), Bill Chattin (drums) — Mt Vernon, New York — December 4, 2004 photo by Mark Weber
Jam session at Connie’s loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — August 24, 2012 — Ed Schuller (bass), Roger Mancuso (drums), Connie Crothers (piano) — photo by Mark Weber * For the record, I don’t think I ever heard Connie say “jam session” — she always referred to loft get-togethers as sessions
Session at Connie’s with Roger and Richard — July 11, 2o10 — photo by Mark Weber
Connie Crothers — New York City subway — December 7, 2004 — photo by Mark Weber
Connie & Jessica Jones — September 10, 2o13 — jam session at Connie’s — photo by Mark Weber
Connie Crothers and Nick Lyons — September 10, 2013 — photo by Mark Weber