Saturday, February 18, 2006
EBTO: EPISODE V, RETURN OF THE SITHY
More recycled (everthing but the oink) and blogified emails to friends. . .
Dear Kevin: Thanks for the kind words about Bill Black's Down in the Depths. I sent exactly one promo copy out. . .to New York dj Jonathan Schwartz, and he is playing it all the time on XM satellite radio. On the slim offchance that there is some sort of afterlife---one big, long cocktail party that lasts for two weeks?----Bill must finally be gettings his kicks.
I had the Black acetate restored just for my own sentimental reasons, sent a copy to a friend in Japan as a gift, and the next thing I knew, a label in that country was offering to release it. I've even made a little bit of money off of it!
I am in touch with a musician who played piano on yet another unreleased Black session but I'm having no luck tracking it down. Someone will probably pop out of the woodwork someday with a copy of it. I'm also thinking about releasing a CD of Black's 23 tracks w/ Krupa, but the stuff is mostly garbage, even the cuts with Roy Eldridge. Rancid pop material. Maybe I'll call it "For Completists Only!" ;-)
Dear Jeff: I did a chapter on Billy Strayhorn--before the big David Hajdu bio came out--in my book Hot from Harlem. What Hajdu went through to write the Strayhorn book was almost as interesting as the book itself. Can't recall all the details, but to track down one interviewee, he made several hundred phone calls, just going down the Pittsburgh phone book, number by number. When I wrote my Strayhorn chapter, I phoned every person with that surname in the U.S. trying to figure out its derivation. I think that all the answerers were African-American (in some instances I had the brassbound temerity to ask), so I finally came to the possible conclusion that it was a black spelling of a slavemaster's name, probably Strathern or.....Strathairn (hope he wins!). Especically inasmuch as Strayhorn does not much exist outside of the U.S. as a name. I checked many European phone books to verify.
Dear L: When I was in high school my two favorite singers were Beverly Kenney, and Kiz Harp (see James Gavin p. 322). Both died at age 28 in 1960, BK of suicide, KH of natural causes. Gakkkk! What a teen trauma that was! Now, 46 years later, despite their slim ouevres---8 albums in toto---they remain faves. Am I loyal. . .or wot?
Dear J: As for Anatomy of a Murder, one of the assistant editors on the film is a friend of mine. I guess you know the bad rep Preminger has. My friend has worked with literally everyone in the biz and dislikes just about all he ever worked with BUT Otto. My editor friend is a bit of ("bit of" hell....IS) a curmudgeon himself, so I guess it was a case of like attracting like.
Will: Don't know if you saw the rest of Dr. Mikami's site, but he has world class collections of just about everything, Tiffany, cacti, catfish, "antique" hi-fi, etc. I have visited him at his home near Tokyo. He appears to be somewhat wealthy; not from medicine, but investing. Not like any other collector I've ever met. Very self-effacing about his stuff. Seemingly quite mellow. All five of his children are also medical doctors. He has a staff working for him, and in their spare time they attend to his web site. I got to know him because my friend Pinky Winters is his favorite singer. That's me (above right) with him just prior to sitting down to listen to Pinky, and Richard Rodney Bennett's Rain Sometimes on the good Doctor's skeenteenzillion yen stereo rig.
Posted by Bill Reed at 9:40 PM