100 Essential Jazz Albums

David Remnick, at The New Yorker, compiled a list of 100 Essential Jazz Albums after doing a profile of jazz broadcaster Phil Schaap.

I used to listen to Phil Schaap and Bird Flight on WKCR, when I was up that early. I also always used to play Charlie Parker’s rendition of Just Friends on the juke box at Bradley’s, which closed in 1998, about the same time my life started going downhill.

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The Village Vanguard Cigars

Village Vanguard
Village Vanguard Jazz Club

I was listening to Les Davis last night on Sirius and he mentioned that Bruce Lundvall, President and CEO of Blue Note (which in no way describes his contribution to Jazz) will be interviewing Lorraine Gordon, owner of the Village Vanguard, this Friday night at 6 PM (ET).

On one of my RSS feeds (Forbes) I kept seeing a link to a review for her new book, Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life In and Out of Jazz Time.

(There was also an excellent documentary on Blue Note by Julian Benedikt called Blue Note – A Story of Modern Jazz (1997) where I learned that Lorraine had been married to Alfred Lion, co-founder of Blue Note.)

From the mid 70’s to the late 90’s, I used to visit the Vanguard whenever there was someone I wanted to see there, (which was fairly often). I always preferred to sit at the back of the club on the long banquette. There were many times when Max Gordon was sitting across from me at one of the little tables, smoking a cigar and then dozing off with his head down on the table.

Jazz, booze and cigars were things that I derived great pleasures from in those days. Whenever I sat at a back table at Bradley’s, I always saw Bradley Cunningham smoking his Macanudos with a table full of friends. In fact, Macanudos are what I smoked for many years unless my friend Joe McNally brought me back a box of Romeo y Julieta Churchills or something.

After Max passed away in 1989, when Lorraine was sitting at the bar, I always seemed to get the feeling that when she occasionally looked down at me from her bar stool she was glaring at me for smoking my cigar. I wasn’t talking (it was usually a solitary experience for me) but OTOH, she never said anything to me.


What is SETI@home?

SETI@home Certificate of Computation

SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.”

I’ve been running SETI@home for 7 years and have not found any extraterrestrial intelligence. I can’t imagine doing a quintillion of anything unless it was destroying brain cells at Bradley’s while drinking scotch whiskey and smoking cigars.

John Hicks

One of my favorite pianists, John Hicks, died May 10th. I was fortunate to see him play frequently at Bradley’s and other clubs around New York. I remember first seeing him play in Betty Carter’s band. He was spiritual when he played with Pharoah Sanders. I always went to see him when he played in town. His music brought joy to my life.

Stanley Crouch has the best remembrance of him in the New York Daily News. All About Jazz has an obituary.