An Unforgettable Night Decades Ago
By Tom Morrow
In 1979, I had the privilege of interviewing the great bandleader Count Basie and his bassist, Freddie Green. Although I remember that unforgettable night of concert, which took place in the gym of Escondido High School, the exact quotes have faded away.
Basie, who started his band in Kansas City in late 1930s, was one of the gentle-men of the music industry. There were few star singers who didn’t perform with him – from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, to name three. Along with Duke Ellington and his orchestra, Basie paved the way for big band jazz. I saw Basie four times – three with short interviews. Basie didn’t say much – he let his music speak for him. We had something in common, though: cigars. Once I learned of his little pleasure, I always slipped him a cigar. It was how he remembered me from one time to the next.
With Basie’s band was Freddie Green – the oldest of his sidemen. I mean, he was the first musician Basie hired for his new band back in 1937. Green was the consummate bassist, with a blank expression while he played. He and Basie lived through turbulent times. Green recalled not being able to stay at many of the hotels where they played, and they weren’t all in the South. Las Vegas came to mind as I sat chatting with him. It was Sinatra who changed everything, putting pressure on hotel and casino owners to break the color barrier for entertainers like Basie, Sammy Davis, Jr., and the Mills Brothers. It was a time when Basie and company were backing up Sinatra at the old Sands Hotel.
They’re both gone now, but thank goodness for CDs and recordings, both video and audio – those two legends will be with us forever.
FRACTURED HEDES — “Work on widening S.C. 72 years away” — The Clinton (S.C.) Chronicle.
THINK ABOUT IT — If Liberals and Progressives don’t believe in biological gender then why do they march for women’s rights?
SCAG SEZ – “The little red schoolhouse was such a success in our system of education because it had a little red woodshed behind it.” – Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features
FIND ‘UM – You can order any of my novels online at Amazon.com. For a list on line go to: www.Amazon.com, just look for my name.
Humorous or human-interest stories or notes for my osidenews.com column can be forwarded via e-mail to me at: email@example.com