Pharoah Sanders at Yoshi’s

Pharoah Sanders at Yoshi’s, November 29, 2019, with Benito Gonzales, Tabari Lake & Marvin Smitty Smith

The first time I saw Pharoah Sanders, he was performing live at Seventh Avenue South, the Brecker brothers’ jazz club in Greenwich Village. That was probably 40 years ago.

I’ve pretty much gone to see him every chance I had in New York Jazz clubs, probably at Sweet Basil, Fat Tuesday’s, the Blue Note, Lush Life, the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate, Seventh Avenue South, Iridium, et al and lately at Yoshi’s in Oakland and SF Jazz.

The Village Vanguard Cigars

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.

Jazz Musicians

John Hicks passing made me think of all the jazz musicians I’d seen when I lived in New York. If you live in New York for a while, you can listen to a lot of jazz.

Bill Evans used to be at the Village Vanguard so often, I used to think I can always see him next time. The last time I saw him there I was sitting against the far wall and I almost tripped him when he walked past me to the piano. When he died, I started thinking about mortality.

This is a list of the jazz musicians I’ve seen perform. That’s a lot of scotch, cognac and cigars.

Betty Carter, Tommy Flanagan, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Red Garland, Pharoah Sanders, Cecil Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Freddie Cole, Joe Henderson, John Hicks, Cootie Williams, Benny Green, Kirk Lightsey, Pharaoh Sanders, Richie Beirach, Sonny Rollins, Ella Fitzgerald, George Coleman, Eddie Harris, Johnny Hartman, Joanne Brackeen, Sonny Stitt, Al Haig, Fred Hersch, Pepper Adams, Jon Hendricks, Paul Desmond, Barry Harris, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jimmy Garrison, Nat Adderley, Akira Tana, Tete Montoliu, Art Farmer, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Cobb, Bobby Enriquez, Gary Bartz, Bill Mays, Urbie Green, Kai Winding, Gerry Mulligan, Milton Naciemento, Gilberto Gil, Ahmad Jamal, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Mulgrew Miller, Hilton Ruiz, Tony Bennett, Tony Williams, Johnny Griffin, Ramsey Lewis, Art Pepper, Shirley Scott, Milt Jackson, Hank Mobley, Reggie Workman, Harry Connick, Jr, Gary Burton, Slide Hampton, Carla Bley, Bobby Short, Roy Haynes, Lou Donaldson, Lewis Nash, Terrence Blanchard, Alberta Hunter, Rashied Ali, Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Hancock, Steve Turre, Teddy Wilson, Geoffrey Keezer, Christian McBride, Kenny Clarke, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Mel Torme, Cedar Walton, Grady Tate, Ray Barretto, James Williams, Wynton Marsalis, David Williams, Gil Evans, Ronnie Mathews, Valerie Capers, Essiet Essiet, Lou Levy, Stan Getz, Walter Bishop Jr, James Moody, Joe Zawinul, Jimmie Heath, Percy Heath, Eubie Blake, Lee Konitz, Alberta Hunter, Greg Hutchinson, Harold Land, Chuck Mangione, Randy Weston, Stanley Cowell, Oliver Jones, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Harold Mabern, Phil Woods, Sarah Vaughn, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, Shelly Manne, Vincent Herring, Jackie McLean, Carlos Valdes, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Ornette Coleman, Anita O’Day, Kenny Werner, Leon Thomas, Billy Taylor, Cal Tjader, Ron Carter, Walter Booker, Albert Heath, David Sanchez, Thad Jones, Leroy Vinnegar, Mel Lewis, Toots Thielemans, Gil Scott-Heron, Horace Silver, Tito Puente, George Duvivier, Renee Rosnes, Eddie Gomez, Marty Rivera, Count Basie, Chick Corea, Les McCann, Earl Hines, Donald Byrd, Charles Mingus, Billy Higgins, Clark Terry, Kenny Burrell, Russell Malone, Steve Kuhn, Bobby Watson, Rufus Reid, Jay Leonhart, Red Mitchell, George Cables, Sadao Watanabe, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter, Woody Shaw, Curtis Fuller, Chucho Valdes, Kenny Kirkland, Al Di Meola, Vic Juris, Joe Farrell, Albert Ayler, Chico Freeman, Candido, Miles Davis, Joe Williams, Sun Ra, Abbey Lincoln, Hank Jones, Carmen McRae, Jack McDuff, Airto Moreira, Eddie Davis, Vince Guaraldi, Jack DeJohnette, Mike LeDonne, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Palmieri, Oscar Peterson, Lester Bowie, Joey DeFrancesco, Branford Marsalis, Louis Hayes, Joe Pass, Blossom Dearie, Ray Bryant, Paquito D’Rivera, Mary Lou Williams, Danilo Perez, Mal Waldron, Nancy Wilson, Ellis Larkins, Stanley Clarke, Al Foster, Harry Edison, Ray Brown, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Jo Jones, George Duke, Ray Drummond, Lionel Hampton, Red Rodney, Junior Mance, Milt Hinton, Bobby Hutcherson, Ted Curson, Curtis Lundy, Cecil McBee, Peter Washington, George Mraz, Art Davis, Jon Faddis, Yusef Lateef, Joe Locke, Hugh Masakela, Idris Muhammad, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Diane Schuur, Ray Barretto, John Lewis, Jacky Terrasson, Cyrus Chestnut, Quincy Jones, Slam Stewart, Illinois Jacquet. Michel Camilo, Ellis Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Buster Williams, Ben Riley, Art Farmer, Marian McPartland, Art Taylor, Tom Harrell, Nicholas Payton, Greg Bandy, Bob Brookmeyer, Michel Petrucciani, Benny Carter, Max Roach, Stefon Harris, Diana Krall, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Smith, Richard Holmes, Eddy Vinson, Kenny Barron.