“Cedar Walton, a pianist who distinguished himself as both an accompanist and a soloist, and who wrote some of the most enduring compositions in modern jazz while a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the early 1960s, died on Monday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 79.”
Over the past 35 years, I was fortunate to see Freddie Hubbard perform many times. The first was in the early ’70s, when I took this photograph at a concert in San Francisco.
I was always partial to the trumpet, maybe because two of my friends, Bruce Baxley and Eugene Madsen, both played. I took lessons with a rental trumpet when I was a kid, but at Christmas, it came down to a trumpet or a bike, and the bike won.
When I moved to the mecca of jazz, New York City, the first thing I bought when I sold a photograph was a Yamaha Flugelhorn, a YFH-631 (now the 631G). My friend, Tim Luey (I think mistakenly), told me a fluegelhorn was easier to play than a trumpet. One year, while attending Comdex in Las Vegas, I bought a Bach Stradivarius at a pawn shop. Both of them are in the closet.
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.