New York City

Butch Morris at his place at 219 E. 7th Street #5 (at Avenue C), Lower East Side – July 1, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

Butch Morris at his place at 219 E. 7th Street #5 (at Avenue C), Lower East Side – July 1, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

September 13, 2o18 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

NEW YORK CITY

All bass players have cars
The Empire State Building is 102 stories
Pizza by the slice is fading away
7-day Unlimited Metrocard is $32
Albuquerque probably (maybe) has 25 elevators
Can you imagine how many elevators has New York City?
I’m not sure I have ever seen a bass on the subway
It occurs to me: Never arm wrestle a bass player
Not unless you don’t mind being shot down
Bass players have cars
The bass is cumbersome
AND (I hope no thieves are
reading this) ponderously valuable with deep provenance
Probably why there are so many beat cops around
Lincoln Center: all those brilliant kids you see walking
around with violin cases and basses (Julliard is there)
Sometimes you see cops on horses, more often than
this poem suggests, actually
But, bass players have cars (one imagines that the showroom where
basses are for sale, they also have station wagons)
If you have a car it is wise to ask a bass player
where are
all the secret places to park?
I suppose drummers have cars, too
But, nowadays drumsets are provided at the clubs AND (again,
I hope no thieves are reading) drummers bring their own
cymbals, those old Zildjians, ancient bequeathed Turkish
cymbals (next time you’re at Birdland or the Village Vanguard you might be
hearing cymbals that played with Prez,
or Bird
or Lennie Tristano)
But this poem is about bass players, and elevators
But I might be done with the elevator part
Not uncommon to see spritely well-formed young people
with yoga mats slung over their shoulders —- Not many
my age, or my gender, I wonder why?
I once jumped into a yoga studio (in Yoga World this is
known as “a walk in”) spur of the moment
when in my Sherlock mode I wanted to investigate
a hunch, which was
inside this yoga studio, so I took off my shoes
and became one in my street clothes —– New Yorkers entertain
a certain mystique for New Mexico, and there I was
with all these gorgeous girls Arda Chandrasana in my walking
around tactical pants —- Mostly I was there to absorb the cosmic vibes
coming through the red bricks, having noticed that Connie’s
old studio on East 9th Street abutted the back wall of this yoga studio
Red bricks! Everywhere! Earlier
I was standing on the corner of Third Ave & 9th
when a pleasant voice says, “You look lost” and among the throng
there’s this nice lady and I say, “Uh, yes, where is Astor Place?”
(Connie had once told me that she lived at Astor Place)
The lady with her grocery bags says, “You’re standing on it” and
smiles
I had been eating an apple and I say “Really?”
And she points out Cooper Union, which I had already discerned,
I can’t ever walk past Cooper Union without thinking of Abraham Lincoln
giving his great speech there in February of 1860, or that
Connie recorded in concert her great solo album there 124 years later
She only had to walk around the corner and sit down at the piano
Can you imagine? Ghosts everywhere, and
this wonderful kind person who just feels like talking, tells me
about the Astor Place neighborhood she’s lived in 40 or so years
I love New Yorkers, contrary to popular belief they are actually
quite friendly!
Maybe it’s the days and times we live in?
From what I understand New York was crime-ridden in the 1970s
You’d get a gun in your face and your bass reapportioned in a minute
Benny Golson tells the story in his autobiography of how & why
Horace Silver left NYC in the 70s, when he was going out on tour
he asked his door man to keep an eye on his place, and oh boy, he
watched it REAL GOOD, and had his cronies evacuate the apartment
down to the last bookmark, clean as a whistle, therefore, Horace split for
the Coast, lived out his years in Palos Verdes over-looking the Pacific
That apple was a Honeycrisp now that I think of it, I stepped outside
the 9th Street bodega and sunk my teeth into it and my eyes swirled
and popped wide open and I pulled it out and looked at it afresh
when sitting on the flower pot bench a guy in a smock smoking a cig
says “Good huh?” and I said, “WOW!”
“It’s a Honeycrisp,” proud of his apples
I missed the 1970s in New York, didn’t get there until 1986 after
they let me out of the hoosegow (that’s what they do in California, is lock
you up for having anything to do with drugs) and by 1986 things had
cooled out and New York was easier
Less dangerous for us simple-minded people
Speaking of which: They tell you not to walk around like you’re a tourist
Staring at things like the Empire State Building
The bad guys put the finger on you
Well, gawd damn I AM a TOURIST, and if the bad guys want to tangle
with me they better bring an ambulance to the party, I survived
the California Penal Colony and I can certainly survive East 9th Street
or wherever (I’m getting to the age where
I might want to reconsider that mindset —- scrappy Ulster-Scot
that I am) . . . . Anyhoo, I’m rambling . . . .
100,000 elevators?

28aug2o18

Chelsea at Noon ---- 23rd Street at 7th Ave – August 23, 2o14 – photo by Mark Weber --- Did you ever read Patti Smith’s memoir JUST KIDS (2o10), a coming of age story, much of it spent on this street ------ Another good one is THE LONELY CITY (2o16) by Olivia Laing, knocked me out

Chelsea at Noon —- 23rd Street at 7th Ave – August 23, 2o14 – photo by Mark Weber — Did you ever read Patti Smith’s memoir JUST KIDS (2o10), a coming of age story, much of it spent on this street —— Another good one is THE LONELY CITY (2o16) by Olivia Laing, knocked me out

116th & Broadway 10:15am – September 5, 2o15 – photo by Mark Weber ---- E.B. White said that New York will give you the gift of loneliness

116th & Broadway 10:15am – September 5, 2o15 – photo by Mark Weber —- E.B. White said that New York will give you the gift of loneliness

If you know your Beatnik history, then the West End Café looms large as a Kerouac hangout when he was in & out of Columbia, but what fond memories I have of that Haagen-Dazs sitting inside late at night with Janet & her sisters luxuriance ambrosial clouds of ice cream symposium -- 113th & Broadway – March 1987 – photo by Mark Weber

If you know your Beatnik history, then the West End Café looms large as a Kerouac hangout when he was in & out of Columbia, but what fond memories I have of that Haagen-Dazs sitting inside late at night with Janet & her sisters luxuriance ambrosial clouds of ice cream symposium — 113th & Broadway – March 1987 – photo by Mark Weber

I often stay here at Janet’s sisters’ place ---- this view is burned into my memory: Looking north up Broadway from the 10th floor of Forest Chambers – That’s Columbia University where Janet’s sister Barbara is a professor, and that’s Broadway Presbyterian at 114th Street – July 1, 1997 Manhattan – photo by Mark Weber

I often stay here at Janet’s sisters’ place —- this view is burned into my memory: Looking north up Broadway from the 10th floor of Forest Chambers – That’s Columbia University where Janet’s sister Barbara is a professor, and that’s Broadway Presbyterian at 114th Street – July 1, 1997 Manhattan – photo by Mark Weber

Cooper Union, and there’s the Astor Place Cube you see so much on TV ---- July 1, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

Cooper Union, and there’s the Astor Place Cube you see so much on TV —- July 1, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

Perry Street in the Village ---- September 27, 1992 Manhattan – photo by Mark Weber ---- “Well, I think that what you are looking for – what I’m looking for – is resolution. And I can get it in my paintings, finally, for myself. In my life, it goes in and out. I have it one day, and I don’t have it the next day. But that’s why being an artist is so great, because you can get that kind of satisfaction.” – Elizabeth Murray, 2001 interview in ART21 magazine

Perry Street in the Village —- September 27, 1992 Manhattan – photo by Mark Weber —- “Well, I think that what you are looking for – what I’m looking for – is resolution. And I can get it in my paintings, finally, for myself. In my life, it goes in and out. I have it one day, and I don’t have it the next day. But that’s why being an artist is so great, because you can get that kind of satisfaction.” – Elizabeth Murray, 2001 interview in ART21 magazine

Soho – September 25, 1992 – photo by Mark Weber ---- Connie once showed me a couple dozen photos she took of street art in Williamsburg when she first moved over there, I hope those are still around, somewhere

Soho – September 25, 1992 – photo by Mark Weber —- Connie once showed me a couple dozen photos she took of street art in Williamsburg when she first moved over there, I hope those are still around, somewhere

My field notes say this shot is directly across the street from Cathedral of St John the Devine – December 1988 NYC – photo by Mark Weber

My field notes say this shot is directly across the street from Cathedral of St John the Devine – December 1988 NYC – photo by Mark Weber

Dig the old Fallout Shelter sign (1961 vintage no doubt) – SoHo – September 25, 1992 – photo by Mark Weber

Dig the old Fallout Shelter sign (1961 vintage no doubt) – SoHo – September 25, 1992 – photo by Mark Weber

You cannot be in jazz and not have a relationship with New York City ---- I’m not saying you have to go there ---- only that it exists in your imagination, mythological and monolithic ---- Every time I catch a cab from La Guardia and ride over the Triborough Bridge over the Harlem River at 125th Street I just flip out seeing again how HUGE everything is, it’s like going from New Mexico into Utah – New Mexico has some amazingly huge red rock mesas and canyons but Utah is scary ------ DJ Olive(turntables), Mark Helias(bass), Dave Douglas(trumpet) at Knitting Factory as part of Uri Caine Plays The Music of Gustav Mahler w/ Danny Blume(guitar), Dave Binney(saxes), Barry Altschul(drums, Uri(piano) – June 29, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

You cannot be in jazz and not have a relationship with New York City —- I’m not saying you have to go there —- only that it exists in your imagination, mythological and monolithic —- Every time I catch a cab from La Guardia and ride over the Triborough Bridge over the Harlem River at 125th Street I just flip out seeing again how HUGE everything is, it’s like going from New Mexico into Utah – New Mexico has some amazingly huge red rock mesas and canyons but Utah is scary —— DJ Olive (turntables), Mark Helias (bass), Dave Douglas (trumpet) at Knitting Factory as part of Uri Caine Plays The Music of Gustav Mahler w/ Danny Blume (guitar), Dave Binney (saxes), Barry Altschul (drums, Uri (piano) – June 29, 1997 – photo by Mark Weber

Connie Crothers in duet with Bill Payne – May 11, 2015 at I-Beam, Brooklyn – photo by Mark Weber

Connie Crothers in duet with Bill Payne – May 11, 2015 at I-Beam, Brooklyn – photo by Mark Weber

11 Comments

  1. Thanks for taking me back to NYC, where I was born and raised. Left at age 32. East village, Astor Place, Cooper Union (where my sister and my ex-husband went to art school), West Village, Lincoln Center, the upper West side, Patti Smith’s memoir and all the rest. I was one of those Beatniks dressed in black. You (almost) make me want to go back to visit. For now I’ll stick with photos and blogs.

  2. Your New York poem is great. I loved every word and that’s unusual. The paranoia born of past experience (see:hoosgow) and the visitor’s hope for betterment (the 70’s were worse) compresses history nicely, folds it back on itself. Excellent.

  3. Paula, I was thinking about you that night you look’d everywhere for a parking space down at The Stone in 2oo9, I think it was . . . . . it wasn’t the 2014 (August 23 @ The Stone, 2nd & Houston, more or less, Lower East Side) you guys left the car at a garage? taxi’d? You were there, for one of my last performances with Connie Crothers! Love you always……………….

  4. I like Kenny Davern’s line: “California is a woman, lying on a bed and saying ‘Take me!’ New York is a man, un-buckling his belt and saying, ‘Bend over!'”

  5. Nice poem about New York. Being a bassist I enjoyed your bass player insights. I might add that Yes, I have a car and my bass which is uninsured outside of my home is always worth more than my car. A car accident (fender bender) that might damage my bass is often a haunting thought. On gigs I never let my bass out of sight from me or a band member. High end instrument cases often target an instrument.

    Always great to read your thoughts.

  6. Everyone in NYC is a tourist. They’re just good a pretending otherwise.

    Chelsea at noon.

    That photograph of 7th and 23rd is my old block. My son was born there when we owned an apartment on the corner of 6th and 23rd St…December 1980. A low-rise (6 stories) brick apartment building with a view uptown of the Empire State building, etc. I used to walk to that very corner every weekday morning and then head up 7th Avenue to Penn Plaza where the company I worked for had it’s offices.

    The view is gone; a needle building was built in the little vacant lot behind us on 24th Street. 6th Avenue heading uptown used to have flower wholesalers and garment guys pushing racks of clothing on the pavement and in the streets. That Avenue is now lined with high-rise apartment buildings.

    There was a strip club next door when I lived there and a lot of cheap Cuban restaurants on 7th and 8th Avenue. Probably all gone too.

    Impermanence. Isn’t that why flowers are so beautiful?

  7. Mark Dresser

    September 12, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks, Mark!

    FYI.

    Most bass players take the subway to the city during the day and often at night as parking is so expensive.

    Milt Hinton was coming into the city with a bass on the train into his 80’s.

    NY is the only place where you’ll be on the train and see another bass player schlepping their instrument.

    I’ve tried to avoid rush hour but sometimes it can’t be helped.

    Developing train bass ettiquette is a challenge made worse if you’re wearing a back pack!

    All best,

    M

    • That’s right. It’s definitely a subway memory I have. Musicians (and students) humping basses into the subway and sitting or standing with them like lovers.

  8. Great poem and photos, Mark. Ted Brown

  9. ——————————–playlist———————————-
    The superstitious jazz radio show
    September 13, 2o18
    KUNM Albuquerque
    Host MARK WEBER
    1. Glenn Ferris Italian Quartet “Lo Scolo” – Oct.2o17 cd ANIMAL LOVE
    2. MW boogie piano intro to show –29sept2o10
    3. Johnny Coles Sextet “So Sweet My Little Girl” – 9aug63 cd LITTLE JOHNNY C (Blue Note) w/ Leo Wright(alto), Joe Henderson(tenor), Duke Pearson(piano), Bob Cranshaw(bass), Pete LaRoca(drums), Coles(trumpet)
    4. Sahib Shihab Quintet “Jay Jay” w/ Sadi(vibes), Francy Boland(piano), Jimmy Woode(bass & arrangement), Sahib(baritone), Kenny Clarke(drums & composition) cd SEEDS) – 9june68
    5. Bobby Bradford demonstrates trumpet/cornet mutes – 30july2o18
    6. Guest LARRY KEMP author of MODERN JAZZ TRUMPET LEGENDS(2o18)
    7. Don Fagerquist + 4 saxes + rhythm section “The Man I Love” –21june55 – cd PORTRAIT OF A GREAT JAZZ ARTIST (Fresh Sound) w/Zoot Sims, Dave Pell, Bill Holman, Bob Gordon – a fantastic sax arrangement I’m guessing by Holman
    8. JQ Whitcomb 3 “Beatrice”(Sam Rivers) –17apr2o12 @ KUNM Studio A w/ Michael Glenn(bass), Cal Haines(drums), JQ(trpt)
    9. Johnny Coles Quartet “Hi Fly” (Randy Weston RIP Sept 1) w/ Kenny Drew(piano), Peck Morrison(bass), Charli Persip(drums), Coles(trpt) –13apr61 cd THE WARM SOUND
    10. Lambert Hendricks Ross “Hi Fly –13march61
    11. Dave McKenna – Hal Overton piano duet “Hi Fly” late 50s cd DUAL PIANO JAZZ
    12. Ruby Braff – George Barnes Quartet “Summertime” cd PLAYS GERSHWIN (Concord) circa 1975
    13. Holly Hofmann & Bob Magnusson, flute & bass duet “Embraceable You” cd DUO PERSONALITY –1992

  10. ————————————-playlist————————-
    The Max Bennett Memorial Jazz Radio Show
    September 20, 2018
    KUNM Albuquerque
    Host MARK WEBER

    1. Bob Cooper Sextet + brass “Happy Changes” 2nd variation of “Jazz Theme and Four Variations” (Bob Cooper) August 26/27, 1957 Contemporary Studios, Hollywood LA w/ Mel Lewis(drums), Lou Levy(piano), Max Bennett(bass), Victor Lewis(vibes), Bob(tenor), Frank Rosolino(trombone) album COOP!
    2. Max Bennett Quartet “Blues” —14dec55 w/ Mel Lewis(drums), Dave McKenna(piano), Carl Fontana(trombone) cd MAX IS THE FACTOR (Fresh Sound)
    3. Lou Levy Trio “How About You” –1957 w/ Stan Levey(drums), Max Bennett(bass), Lou(piano) album A MOST MUSICAL FELLA (RCA)
    4. Joni Mitchell “Twisted” w/ Max Bennett(bass), John Guerin(drums), Chuck Findlay(trpt), Cheech & Chong (the voices in Joni’s head)—1973 album COURT & SPARK
    5. Howard Roberts album GOODIES (Capitol) – “Chim Chim Cher-ee” – 12aug65 w/ Max Bennett(bass), Pete Jolly(organ), Frank Capp(drums), John Pisano(guitar), Howard(guitar solo) ———-Hollywood
    6. Frank Zappa “Little Umbellas” album HOT RATS – 1969 w/ Max Bennett(bass)
    7. Conte Candoli Quartet “Night Flight” – 20nov54 w/ Conte(trpt), Max(bass), Claude Williamson(piano), Stan Levey(drums) cd COAST TO COAST (Fresh Sound)
    8. Peggy Lee “Fever” –18may58 w/ Joe Mondragon(bass) & Shelly Manne(drums) * Max found this song for Peggy and had the idea for the arrangement and played it on a few clubs dates with her but was on tour with Ella when she recorded this, so, Joe took the bass spot
    9. Terry Gibbs 6 “Broadway” w/ 3 vibes: Victor Feldman, Terry Gibbs, Larry Bunker + rhythm section: Lou Levy(piano), Max Bennett(bass), Mel Lewis(drums) – Sept. 1957 cd A JAZZ BAND BALL (Mode/VSOP)
    10. Art Pepper octet “Autumn Leaves” cd MUCHO CALOR – 3oct57
    11. T-Bone Walker title track: “Every Day I Have the Blues” (Flying Dutchman BluesTime) w/ Max(bass)———–18aug69
    12. Bill Holman “East of the Sun” –2aug54 Capitol Studios, LA w/ Max Bennett(bass), Bob Gordon(baritone sax), Herb Geller(alto), Stu Williamson(trpt), Bob Enevoldsen(trombone), Stan Levey(drums), Holman(tenor & arrangement) cd Mosaic box KENTON PRESENTS
    13. Frances Faye “Skip to My Lou” –1957 w/ Russ Garcia conducting a gang of LA hotshots of which Max was one —album FRANCES FAYE SINGS FOLK SONGS
    14. Max Bennett Sextet “Johnny Jaguar”(Lennie Niehaus) —14dec55 NYC w/ Dave McKenna(piano), Max(bass), Mel Lewis(drums), Nick Travis(trpt), Charlie Mariano(alto), Jack Nimitz(baritone) cd MAX IS THE FACTOR
    15. Joni Mitchell “Help Me” —-1973 album COURT & SPARK w/ Max prominent on bass
    16. Zappa “It must be a camel” album HOT RATS – 1969 w/ Max on bass *Where does Zappa get this ridiculous titles?
    17. Conte Candoli Quartet “On the Alamo” ibid.
    18. Peggy Lee Live at Basin Street – 1961 — “Fever” w/ Max on bass
    19. Bob Cooper “Confirmation”(Bird) —ibid. cd COOP! *Max is of that generation that grew up listening to Charlie Parker, it is his roots

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