Once again, Bill Crow’s The Band Room column in the New York musicians union Local 802 newspaper, Allegro, is packed with anecdotes. Here are two.
Outgoing (Local 802) President Mary Landolfi told me this one: Her husband Pat and another tuba player, Lew Waldeck, had arranged to meet at the Carnegie Tavern after a benefit at Carnegie Hall. The major attraction at the benefit was Frank Sinatra, and when Lew came into the Tavern afterward, he was all agog. “Pat,” he said excitedly, “I just met Frank Sinatra, and he spoke to me!” “What did he say?” asked Pat. “He was coming down the stairs just as I was going up, and he said, ‘Get the f*** out of my way!’”
Woody Herman had profound distaste for the fiscal hassles and burdens that made his life miserable in his final years. This story from Bill’s column perfectly captures Woody’s feelings about the business aspects of his profession.
John Altman once had Al Cohn as a houseguest, and Al took John to meet Woody Herman. Al introduced him, saying, “John has a big band.” Woody grabbed John’s outstretched hand, looked earnestly into his eyes, and asked, “Why?”
To read all of Bill’s column, go here.
San Francisco pianist Roberta Mandel sent this excerpt from an interview with drummer Shelly Manne. The story has been around for a long time. I haven’t been able to track down the source of the interview, but anyone who has dealt with ignoramus producers will hear the ring of truth.
Have you ever gone into the studio and had someone say, “I want you to sound like the guy who did the drums on … ?”
I did a date with Jimmy Bowen, the song was “Fever.” I had never worked with Jim, but I had made the original record of “Fever” with Peggy Lee. It actually said on my part, “play like Shelly Manne.” So I played it just like I played it originally. The producer stormed out of the control room, walked over to me and said “Can’t you read English? It says “play like Shelly Manne.”
When I told him I was Shelly Manne, he turned around and went back into the booth. I think he’s selling cars now.