This CD was recorded to duplicate what we have done live on
many occasions---create the perfect relaxed ambience for jazz and cocktails. The title song "In a Mist' was composed and recorded by legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke in 1927. Bix's piano recording is a mixture of some far out Debussy like improvisation mixed with stride piano. I once tried to learn this piece from the sheet music. At that time the recording was not available and I only recently heard it. I never did master it but used the main theme as a set chaser for many years. On this CD I give it a slower more dreamy treatment than Bix did. Duke's "Prelude to a Kiss is also done solo as a ballad as are the first choruses of Cole Porter's "I Love You" and David Raskin's "Laura". The Rhythm section comes in later. We did "Caravan" in 6/8 and Jobim's "O Amor em Paz" of course as a Bossa.The other songs are happy swingers.
Jazz is my first love, but at an early age I decided to be a professional musician and avoid a day job at all costs while eating good food and drinking good wine and living in in a nice pad. So I have played a lot of hotel lounges and piano bars and dance gigs where jazz was not a priority.
I completed 80 years with this body last June and can say that I have never had a "day job". People keep asking me when I am going to retire and I reply "retire from what? I never worked a day in my life".
I played my first cabaret gig in 1947 at the Mecca Club in Portland Oregon. The standard trio in those days was wood bass, Gibson guitar with tube amp and the house spinet which was usually out of tune and a few ground rule keys that only made a sound when struck very hard. It was 9 PM until 2 AM six nights a week and some nights we played at an after hours bootleg joint until 6. I was attending the Portland School of Music an the GI Bill of Rights and would crash on the couch in the lobby until my first class. The guitar player and bass player both sang and we whispered unison vocals a la the Page Cavananaugh Trio. We played hundreds of songs and never took music on the stand. Some nights after the gig we would go to the Chicken Koop on Sandy Blvd. and jam--sometimes the jam would start on saturday nights and go on until monday morning.
The summer of 1952 I played at the Shore Club in Seaside with Jack Whitehead. We went to New York in fall but New York wasn't ready for us so we hit the road playing roadhouses in the North East and eventually ended up in Key West Florida. The group broke up but I stayed on playing solo piano in the (would you belive it)Happy Hour Bar. One night in May 1953 I finished my shift and wandered down Duval street to have a night cap with my buddy who tended bar. Frank told me great stories of Puerto Rico were he had been on the beach while a merchant seaman We both got smashed, got a lift up to Miami and hithched a ride to PR on a DC 3 with a cargo of live chickens.
Well I'm still here and still playing gigs, but only the easy ones like jazz trios and quartets. My wife and I have a Mama & Papa entertainment agency and book bands and acts for the convention trade.
From Puerto Rico with love,