The Paul Gonsalves stories keep rolling in. We had them from Germany and the US. Here’s one from Canada.
The friendship of Clark Terry and Paul continued long after CT’s Ellington-time. It was Clark who introduced me to Paul when both were in Toronto, CT as a soloist at the old Colonial Tavern, and Paul with Duke, who was at the Royal York’s Imperial Room, I think it was. Probably ’68 or ’69. I was on the air live until midnight, and would run to the Colonial (or the Town Tavern) to catch a last set. One night after CT’s gig, he said “Let’s go see Paul”, and off we went to the now-gone Lord Simcoe Hotel (the band members never stayed at the Royal York– too expensive). We found one of the other band members in the lobby, who directed us to Paul’s room.
I’ve rarely seen such an open display of true affection between friends. From somewhere, a bottle of scotch appeared, but there was only one glass around, so Clark came up with a brilliant solution: you know how ice machines will make the cubes with a big ‘dimple’ in them? That’s what became our ‘glasses’ — a new twist (for me, anyway) on Scotch/ice. They held a tidy half-ounce or so, so the bottle was passed quite often during the next hour or so.
I visited Duke the next night, and seeing that I knew Clark, Paul took my word for it that we had met. He might not have remembered me, but I sure remembered him…
I believe Paul was one of the under-recognized great tenormen in jazz.
Mr. O’Reilly has been a jazz broadcaster in Toronto for forty-one years.