Saturday, April 15, 2006

Today is Bessie Smith's birthday

When I first met him in the mid-1980s, jazz trumpet and cornet player Demas Dean lived in L.A.'s mid-Wilshire area in a pleasant, neat, well-kept one-room apartment.

The walls of his abode were an arresting photographic who's who of black entertainment; with many of the photos having been personally inscribed to him from: Maxine Sullivan, Billie Holiday, Valaida Snow and Elisabeth Welch, et al. But of all his professional accomplishments, the one he liked most to talk about were the recording sessions he did with Bessie Smith; the first on February 9, 1928 with a second one almost two weeks later on February 21, for a total of six sides: "Thinking Blues," Pickpocket Blues," "I Used to Be Your Sweet Mama," "Standin' in the Rain Blues," "It Won't Be You," and "I'm a Cheater." Here is some of what he told me about the experience, as excerpted from my book "Hot from Harlem: Profiles in Classic African-American Entertainment."
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No winner for Wednesday's "Blindfold Contest." The singer was the wonderful Shelby Flint, accompanied Tim Weston, guitar; Peter Erskine, drums; John Patitucci, bass

1 comment:

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