Stanley Sagov | More Memories of the Future

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More Memories of the Future

by Stanley Sagov

Eclectic Jazz that depicts a world in which paying attention to ourselves,each other and the universe while playing reveals a possibility of beauty meaning and hope for everyone.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
SUE AUCLAIR
Promotions!
617-522-1394
For Immediate Release:
2009
STANLEY SAGOV & THE REMEMBERING THE FUTURE JAZZ BAND
RELEASE NEW CD: More Memories of The Future
Regattabar JAZZ CLUB APPEARANCE March 4 ,2009
STANLEY SAGOV & The Remembering The Future Jazz Band is a bunch of grizzled jazz veterans
who never really grew up, still love to play the music and want to share that experience in the moment
of creation!
Featuring Stanley Sagov on piano, John Lockwood on acoustic bass, Tommy Lockett on electric
bass, Bob Moses on drums, Stan Strickland on sax, flute and vocals and Mike Peipman on trumpet,

This music is jazz, jazz and more jazz . . . not smooth, but funky, driving, intricate and emotional!
Looking Forward To Remembering The Future is available on CD Baby and elsewhere for $15.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Stanley Sagov has always been crazy about jazz-based musics.
Sagov, who also plays guitar, violin, oboe, bass and drums is known primarily as a keyboardist with
extraordinary talents. A family practice physician by day with a full-time medical practice in Greater
Boston, Massachusetts, his evenings and weekends are spent with his jazz, his family and his
photography.
After graduating from medical school in South Africa, Dr. Sagov moved to New York City where he had
the opportunity to perform with many of his musical heroes . . . among them Booker Ervin, Howard
McGhee, Jimmy Garrison, Billy Hart, Elvin Jones, Roland Kirk, Ted Curson, Sheila Jordan, Bob Moses
and many other wonderful musicians.
In 1970, he moved to Boston where he attended the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music;
he graduated with a degree in jazz piano and oboe. His mentors while at NEC included Jaki Byard,
George Russell, Thad Jones, John Lewis, Kenny Dorham, Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Foster, Gerry
Mulligan, Cecil McBee, Buell Neidlinger, Tom McKinley and others.
Dr. Sagov found that he hated touring, but loved the music, so in addition to his full time medical
livelihood, he now produces his music at home and independently markets it on the internet.

Even with an award-winning medical career, Stanley Sagov always makes time for his music
As a jazz pianist, Stanley Sagov spends most of his time in his home studio; as a doctor, he meets with patients. As a jazz pianist, Stanley Sagov spends most of his time in his home studio; as a doctor, he meets with patients. (Josh reynolds for the boston globe)
By Tom Haines
Globe Staff / October 11, 2008

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Stanley Sagov, family doctor and jazz pianist, begins a beat on the kitchen table with his hand: Wham!
Discuss
COMMENTS (0)

Over a dinner of homemade curry, Sagov has just turned talk toward the urgent interplay between rhythm and harmony in jazz.

"It's like what the rhythm says to the body is, 'Now! This is happening now!' " Sagov says.

Wham!

"You know?" Wham!

"Not another time." Wham!

"Right now." Wham!

Sagov, 64, who by day practices family medicine in Arlington and teaches students, residents, and fellows from four Massachusetts medical schools, is in the midst of his own compelling "right now" musical moment. After years of self-chosen rhythmic solitude, he has assembled a band of prominent musicians that includes, among others, drummer Bob Moses and flutist, saxophonist, and singer Stan Strickland. They have recorded two albums - dynamic, largely unrehearsed improvisations of classics, Sagov originals, and South African songs - and will perform Tuesday at Scullers Jazz Club.

For Sagov the jazz pianist, the collaboration is about the joy of jamming, to be sure, but also about expressing an optimism that transcends music.

"It's saying, 'Here's this representation of how it could be,' across cultures in the case of jazz," Sagov says, "where we listen to each other and we end up with something more powerful, more synergistic, more moving, more sexy, more intriguing, than anything that could have been done if we stayed in our little boxes."

On a recent weekday morning in Arlington, Sagov, the family doctor, leans against an examining table at Family Practice Group, which he founded more than 30 years ago, and he listens to a woman who has fought breast cancer and faces uncertain troubles from diabetes. They talk of past surgeries and current medication, and Sagov says, "The other thing is your mood. Chronic depression. The employment thing . . ."

She nods.

"I feel a little bit more energy," she tells Sagov. "I've been taking the dog to the park."

Then it is on to a young man who arrived with a violin case - he plays mostly fiddle music these days, he says - and explains that a rash has spread. Sagov examines him, then, hands clasped, looks the young man in the eyes and explains that even with ointment the rash will take time to clear. He turns to a computer and types in hunt-and-peck fashion what he has found, then gently asks about the breakup of the patient's parents, whom Sagov also knows.

"Do you want my two cents?" Sagov asks.

He encourages the young man to open a dialogue. The son does not need to accept what he hears, or even believe it. But such a conversation, Sagov says, could lead to deeper un derstanding of a difficult situation.

"I'm very optimistic that truth creates possibilities," Sagov tells him.

Starting a musical, medical path
When Sagov talks, whether about medicine or music or life, his voice is soft and sure, often delivering evolving sentences that occasionally end in a slight gasp, as though he has given all. His gray-bearded face is welcoming of the world. Yet, seen in profile, it stares sharply into it. There is something in this - an openness to engage, and a confidence to challenge - that seems to define Sagov and his medical and musical passions that have spanned a lifetime, yet thrive in the moment.

It is like this over the dinner he cooked in his Chestnut Hill home, when conversation turns toward his native South Africa. Sagov was born in Cape Town to Jewish parents whose families had emigrated from Russia to the tip of a new continent. Though he suffered from Gordon syndrome, a skeletal condition that requires major surgeries through adolescence, as a teenager Sagov took up photography and began capturing vivid black-and-white portraits of joys and sorrows of life under apartheid: a black man holding a guitar on the side of an empty road; well-dressed whites passing before a palm tree; two barefoot children standing behind a chain-link gate, and two others hawking newspapers.

Sagov started playing violin at age 6 and later, during a year recovering from surgery in London, learned guitar, which he played in a popular Cape Town band covering Little Richard songs and more. When Sagov was 16, the band pianist got sick, and so he sat in to play hits by Jerry Lee Lewis. Like that he was off for years wandering from Cape Town cafes to clubs in Johannesburg and in the black townships, along the way playing with the likes of pianist Dollar Brand (now known as Abdullah Ibrahim), singer Miriam Makeba, saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, and many more.

It was an individual adventure.

"I'd wake up with broken glass under the piano and not sure how I got there, you know," Sagov says. "Drugs, sex, and jazz. It was wild."

And it was a chance to challenge cultural conventions.

Jazz "had this moral dimension to it, this political dimension to it, that was about integration," Sagov says. "It was about white and black coming together to do something that wasn't apartheid, that wasn't about oppression, that wasn't about pejorative distinctions between people on grounds of their color or anything else about them."

Sagov simultaneously studied in medical school at the University of Cape Town. Then, as thousands were leaving South Africa in protest, to avoid persecution, or to find a better scene, Sagov in 1967 followed his dueling beats to New York's hospitals and jazz clubs.

"I used to go to lectures and type my notes, and if I was working in hospitals, do my shift," Sagov says, "and then I would hang out almost exclusively with musicians and philosophers and poets and street people, and I needed . . . that other part of the human expressive range that is different than science and service and a particular kind of formal discipline."

He moved to Boston, where he studied jazz piano and oboe at New England Conservatory, graduating in 1973. But a desire for family and a disdain for life on the road helped solidify a decision to join the emerging family practice program at Harvard Medical School. In the decades since, Sagov has treated families from across the state, including some who have moved away, yet return just for his care. In 2002 he was honored as Family Physician of the Year by the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, and three years later was inducted into the academy's teaching hall of fame.

Staying busy in the home studio
On a Thursday evening, Sagov is home in Chestnut Hill after another day at the office and settled in a makeshift recording studio upstairs from the kitchen. It is cluttered and cramped. On the shelf are stacked manuals, including "Home Recording for Musicians." On one wall, a poster advertises a "Sagov" concert, in 1976, at the Boston Center for the Arts. On another wall, a copy of Cape Times Magazine, from 1966, features Sagov photographs: a woman brooding, boys eating sugar cane, people gathered for drinks at an outdoor bar.

During the past two decades, Sagov has played the occasional wedding or bar mitzvah, for friends, and the annual staff party of Mount Auburn Hospital. But Sagov has made most of his music in the home studio, using electronic keyboards and computer programs to play everything from penny whistle to piano on dozens of self-produced solo albums. One five-song collection, dated Jan. 1, 2000, is titled "One for the Millennium: Monk, Miles, McFarland, Mingus and Me." (His record label: Try This at Home.)

As Sagov turns to his computer, his wife, Elivia, and daughter, Sadye, settle in a room next door to watch political speeches.

Sagov searches iTunes and plays "Country Cooking," by South African pianist and composer Chris McGregor. He clicks again and goes back to the 1950s with "Kwela Claude," by Spokes Mashiyane, a South African penny whistle player and master of kwela, the street music that Sagov heard as a child.

The speakers pulse as notes trip and skip one upon another. Sagov's eyes squeeze shut, his head rocks, and his foot keeps a heavy beat. His cheeks crease and release, his lips purse then smile, and suddenly, on hearing a particular note, his eyes spring open and brows arch, as if to say, "cool, eh?"
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

MUSIC
Practice makes perfect for jazz-loving doc
Boston Herald - Boston, Mass.
Author: BOB YOUNG
Date: Oct 13, 2008
Start Page: 28
Section: THE EDGE
Text Word Count: 419
Document Text

Dr. Stanley Sagov's patients should be relieved he doesn't like the traveling life. If he did, the jazz world's gain would have been their loss.

"They're my village," the pianist and family doctor said from his home in Newton. "I love them, I care about them, so as a family person and a doctor, being on the road doesn't make it for me."

Patients and fans won't have to travel far to hear the 64-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist showcase his musical side when he leads a band featuring Bob Moses, Stan Strickland, John Lockwood and Mike Peipman on Tuesday at Scullers Jazz Club. In a rare concert appearance, he celebrates the release of two new CDs, "Looking Forward to Remembering the Future" and "African Jazz Telepathy."

For decades, Sagov has quietly pursued his twin loves of music and medicine. Chief of family medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and head of his own practice in Arlington, Sagov follows a routine of spending evenings and weekends practicing and recording in his home studio.

"I've always been compelled to do both things passionately," the Capetown, South Africa, native said. "I've been unable to give up either one."

Sagov, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, understood at an early age the trials that life can bring and the joy that music can offer as an antidote. He was born with Gordon's syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that forced him to wear iron leg braces in his youth. He underwent 16 surgeries to deal with two club feet.

Sagov also witnessed first-hand the ugliness of apartheid, a grim reality offset by the uplifting South African music surrounding him. Those sounds course through his piano playing and scores.

"As I've gotten older," he said, "I feel like I'm returning to some of the things I heard on the streets and on the radio when I was growing up. Any South African musician listening to my music would hear that it wasn't exactly township jazz or Afrikaners music or the kwela that buskers played on the street. But it's got all those elements, plus American jazz, in it. I love the mixture."

He also loves being able to mix it up with high-octane company on recordings and at Scullers.

"What we're doing is as close to my idea of heaven on earth as I can engineer," he said.

- bobcyoung@verizon.net

Stanley Sagov and the Remembering the Future Band, Tuesday night at Scullers Jazz Club at 8 and 10. Tickets: $15; 617-562-4131.

Credit: By BOB YOUNG
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
Abstract (Document Summary)

Patients and fans won't have to travel far to hear the 64-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist showcase his musical side when he leads a band featuring Bob Moses, Stan Strickland, John Lockwood and Mike Peipman on Tuesday at Scullers Jazz Club.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

The doctor is in
Stanley Sagov’s jazz remedies, plus Saxophone Summit
By JON GARELICK | October 8, 2008

081010_giant_main

That Stanley Sagov plays jazz at all is impressive. That he plays it at such a high level is stunning.

Sagov — a Boston family physician whose band visit Scullers this Tuesday for a CD-release show — is from South Africa. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he was born with Gordon’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that left him with two club feet. By the time he was 13, he’d endured 16 different surgeries in London, New York, and Boston. He spent much of his early years walking in iron leg braces. Yet through all the extensive medical care, he found himself bonding with the doctors who treated him. Inspired as well by family members in the medical profession, he decided that he too would become a doctor.
Topics

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But he was also drawn to music, and a variety of instruments. “I played guitar a lot and played in a band that did covers, R&B — Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis,” he tells me when we get together at his Chestnut Hill home. When the piano player left the band for a time, Sagov was tapped for the job. “I must have driven my parents insane, trying to teach myself to play these boogie-woogie and R&B things over and over and over. Then the piano player came back, but I was hooked.”

Hanging with older musicians, getting into jazz, he acquired mentors. “Bob Tizard, a bassist and trombonist, decided he was going to teach me how to play ‘Perdido’ — a 32-bar song form — and he was going to make this rock-and-roll musician understand about playing more than three chords and how to remember the form. We played the song from midnight until six in the morning.” By morning — “after around the 30th time” — Tizard had Sagov improvising.

This was Cape Town, during the depth of apartheid, about which Sagov had his own epiphany. At about the age of nine, he recounts in his press biography, he was walking uphill, wearing his leg irons, from a violin lesson when he “suddenly understood the parallel between my being stigmatized for looking unusual and the terrible way that black people in South Africa were being treated by whites.”

Later, he tells me, he was among a group of “iconoclastic young South Africans” who experienced the music as a bridge across races. “We had this fantasy about America that the jazz community was an integrated community, white and black people demonstrating across the color bar that you could make great art together.” In the meantime, as a medical doctor, he worked in the segregated townships.

Fast-forward to Sagov moving to New York in the ’60s and falling in with its vibrant jazz scene. By 1970, he was studying at New England Conservatory, having been recommended by the esteemed trumpeter Ted Curson and one of Sagov’s heroes, the great pianist Bill Evans.

Eventually Sagov had his own band, and they worked often, playing the clubs and opening concerts for acts like Gary Burton. But once he had a family, he had to make a choice, and working as a touring musician was not it. So he practiced medicine during the day and piano and composition at night in his home studio, maintaining his friendships from the NEC years with people like sax/flute man Stan Strickland and drummer Bob Moses, both of whom are on his new self-released double-disc, Looking Forward To Remembering the Future.

The CD mixes every strain of Sagov’s experience. There are standards like the Gershwins’ “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” Miles Davis’s “Blue in Green,” and Evans’s “Nardis”; there are lesser-played jazz pieces like Gary McFarland’s “Gary’s Waltz.” Sagov’s arrangements reconfigure the familiar tunes — the melodies of “Blue in Green” and “Nardis” are merely passing shadows. You can hear the music of the South African townships in “Stanley’s Kwela,” his Jewish background in Middle Eastern–tinged pieces like “Chord Too Bad” and the traditional “Avinu Malkkkeinu.” (His comment on the region’s “fratricidal conflict: the music from both sides is the same!”)

The playing from Strickland, Moses, and veteran trumpeter Mike Peipman is, as you might expect, stellar, with strong support from electric-bassist Tommy Lockett and percussionist Sean Mannion. On Sagov’s idiosyncratic “Blooz for Another Time,” Strickland, who can blow with Coltrane-like complexity and ferocity, settles into a Ben Websterish fat-toned melody before doubling the time on top of Sagov’s chords. Meanwhile, Sagov’s writing and playing surprises everywhere. He stretches out the melody in his introduction to “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” exposing inner voicings, wringing the song for emotion without sentimentality. His “Regular-Irregular” recalls one of the airy forms from the Miles Davis/Wayne Shorter book, with its rising horn fanfare, 12-tone-row middle section, and use of space. Sagov’s solo here takes one unpredictable turn after another, sticking with the form but mixing up odd, varied patterns, quizzical and joyful.
1 | 2 | next >The doctor is in
By JON GARELICK | October 8, 2008

Sagov says that even NEC couldn’t get him to “unlearn” the bad habits of his early self-training. “I’m a jazz musician who learned how to play piano on the street. I never learned to play scales properly, I just scrabbled around in my own way.” That rough technique might account for some of his individuality. “I don’t consider myself a pianist in the way Keith Jarrett or Jacky Terrasson is. They’re consummate players, well schooled. So I think of myself more as a composer who happens to use the piano as a means of expression.”

Although he hasn’t toured, Sagov has played regularly over the years in Boston and New York. The new CD (he released one with some of the same musicians in 2006, and another has just been completed) represents a special bond with long-time friends and colleagues. “This is how it used to feel when I started playing in South Africa — music that combined head and heart and had rigor and sexiness to it, that’s got formal elements. But what makes it come alive in the moment of playing is the immediacy of feeling other people being in the game with you.”
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At face value, you’d expect Saxophone Summit to be a showcase for the three star soloists — David Liebman, Joe Lovano, and Ravi Coltrane. And in some aspects of their first set at the Regattabar back on September 24, it was just that. Each of the three horn players got plenty of solo time. But in the performance — as on their two CDs — they proved themselves a real working band, the music existing as a totality of expression and not just as an arrangement for solos with backdrops.

The project was founded in 1997 to play a Coltrane tribute concert in Japan. They released an album in 2004, and then, in 2007, original member Michael Brecker died. Ravi Coltrane succeeded Brecker for their latest, Seraphic Light (Telarc). At the Regattabar, the line-up was otherwise the same as on the albums, with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Billy Hart.

After a summer of touring Europe, they were stoked. Every tune built to ecstatic, testifying solos through a series of hairpin turns in the arrangements. But as good as the horn players were, it was difficult to stay focused on any individual’s statement because that totality of sound took over. When Coltrane reached a particularly stirring cadence in Randy Brecker’s “Message to Mike” — all up-and-down figures diving to a deep, cavernous low note — he sounded so good in part because of what McBee and Hart were doing with him. All night these two provided contrasting patterns that made everyone else in the band — the band as a whole — sound that much bigger. When Markowitz took off into impressionistic chromatic runs and pungent chord clusters on Coltrane the Elder’s “Seraphic Light,” McBee and Hart countered with deep-off kilter patterns, Hart’s kick drum in synch with McBee’s spare, rock-like plucking.

There were other felicities: the tenor-bass clarinet duet on Liebman’s “Alpha Omega,” Liebman’s spooky wood flute against Ravi’s tenor on Ravi’s “Thirteenth Floor,” the overlapping lines of the three tenors on “Seraphic Light” creating the illusion of a harmonium — but a really loud harmonium. For a change, here was a supergroup that was really super.

STANLEY SAGOV REMEMBERING THE FUTURE BAND | Scullers, DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston | October 14 at 8 pm | $15 | 617.562.4111 or www.scullersjazz.com
, scullers , scullers , Stanley Sagov , Stanley Sagov , Stanley Sagov , jazz , Cecil McBee , Ravi Coltrane , Music , Entertainment , Less less



MUSIC
Practice makes perfect for jazz-loving doc
Boston Herald - Boston, Mass.
Author: BOB YOUNG
Date: Oct 13, 2008
Start Page: 28
Section: THE EDGE
Text Word Count: 419
Document Text

Dr. Stanley Sagov's patients should be relieved he doesn't like the traveling life. If he did, the jazz world's gain would have been their loss.

"They're my village," the pianist and family doctor said from his home in Newton. "I love them, I care about them, so as a family person and a doctor, being on the road doesn't make it for me."

Patients and fans won't have to travel far to hear the 64-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist showcase his musical side when he leads a band featuring Bob Moses, Stan Strickland, John Lockwood and Mike Peipman on Tuesday at Scullers Jazz Club. In a rare concert appearance, he celebrates the release of two new CDs, "Looking Forward to Remembering the Future" and "African Jazz Telepathy."

For decades, Sagov has quietly pursued his twin loves of music and medicine. Chief of family medicine at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and head of his own practice in Arlington, Sagov follows a routine of spending evenings and weekends practicing and recording in his home studio.

"I've always been compelled to do both things passionately," the Capetown, South Africa, native said. "I've been unable to give up either one."

Sagov, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, understood at an early age the trials that life can bring and the joy that music can offer as an antidote. He was born with Gordon's syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that forced him to wear iron leg braces in his youth. He underwent 16 surgeries to deal with two club feet.

Sagov also witnessed first-hand the ugliness of apartheid, a grim reality offset by the uplifting South African music surrounding him. Those sounds course through his piano playing and scores.

"As I've gotten older," he said, "I feel like I'm returning to some of the things I heard on the streets and on the radio when I was growing up. Any South African musician listening to my music would hear that it wasn't exactly township jazz or Afrikaners music or the kwela that buskers played on the street. But it's got all those elements, plus American jazz, in it. I love the mixture."

He also loves being able to mix it up with high-octane company on recordings and at Scullers.

"What we're doing is as close to my idea of heaven on earth as I can engineer," he said.

- bobcyoung@verizon.net

Stanley Sagov and the Remembering the Future Band, Tuesday night at Scullers Jazz Club at 8 and 10. Tickets: $15; 617-562-4131.

Credit: By BOB YOUNG
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
Abstract (Document Summary)

Patients and fans won't have to travel far to hear the 64-year-old composer and multi-instrumentalist showcase his musical side when he leads a band featuring Bob Moses, Stan Strickland, John Lockwood and Mike Peipman on Tuesday at Scullers Jazz Club.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.




Bio for previous Album

Stanley Sagov is a dazzling jazz
pianist and composer who is
skilled on a number of other
music instruments and who is also
skilled with surgical instruments,
as he simultaneously has a full
time career as a medical doctor.
He constantly amazes his
colleagues in both music and in
medicine with his ability to lead
such an intense dual life both as a
physician and as a musician.
Currently Dr. Sagov is releasing a
new CD entitled Looking Forward
to Remembering the Future, but
he produces enough music to fill
the contents of a full CD almost
every month in his home studio.
Sagov is also a top notch
photographer who shoots nature,
people and places with the eyes of
an unusually sensitive personality.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa
in 1944 to a Jewish family that
had immigrated there to escape
the chaos and anti-Semitism that
followed the Russian Revolution,
the young Sagov grew up in the
midst of the horrid South African
regime of Apartheid and its
resulting police state.The young boy was born with
Gordon’s Syndrome, an extremely
rare genetic disorder which can
cause club feet, cleft palate,
dysplasia of the hip and also
thumb in palm deformity. He
suffered greatly as he was forced
to endure the horrors of sixteen
different surgeries in London,
New York and Boston during his
first 13 years to help correct
various deformities. At school he
was stigmatized and teased by
other boys because of his
awkward gait and the necessity of
wearing leg irons for many years.
Marked by this great difficulty, hehe had a sudden insight at an early age.
“This was not my fault,” says Sagov, “Suddenly
there was a realization about this around age 9. I
remember walking uphill from a violin lesson one
day and suddenly understanding the parallel
between my being stigmatized for looking unusual
and the terrible way that black people in South
Africa were being treated by whites. How could
others think that this was something that I had willed
or caused and for which I should be blamed?” It is
actually a genetic disease affecting both my
daughters and my grand daughter.
“No one in my family played music professionally
though my mother dabbled in it a bit, but when I
was age six, I suddenly asked to play the violin. I
have no idea why I did this! I was a bad but
enthusiastic violinist! I remember wearing a British
school uniform with a dark jacket and gray pants in
the winter and riding on the top level of the English
style double-decker buses with my quarter-sized
violin. I had leg irons on because of the multiple
surgeries and I must have been a strange sight.”
“I always felt a kinship with the black people of my
country. The Passover story with its themes of being
strangers in a strange land and needing to be freedfrom slavery and oppression and the cruelty and
mass murder of my fellow Jews and family members
in anti-semitic Europe resonated with my
perceptions of the unjust society in which I was
living. All white people in South Africa had
servants, even if you were extremely poor and on
welfare, you had servants. Our servants would carry
me around and take care of me and I sensed a kind
of nobility about the Bantu people in Cape Town.
They had a lot of pride. In those days [the ‘50s]
there were so many more black people than white.
The ratio was about 4 to 1.”
Cape Town was the legislative capital and in those
days there were only three white members of
parliament who strenuously opposed the ruling
nationalist party.. One of them came to stay with
the Sagov family during the 6 month legislative
session every year and had a great impact on theyoung Stanley. His name was Leo Lovell and he played
ukulele. Soon, he taught Stanley how to play the instrument.
This led to his purchase of a guitar on the way to England for
another surgery.
“I was immobilized for a long time in England and there was
blues revival happening there even before it really took hold in
America. I was listening to folks like John Henry, Leadbelly
and Big Bill Broonzy. I was crazy for Lonnie Donegan. Soon I
was hooked on the guitar and was playing homage to the
Chicago blues men and English skiffle music. When I went
back to South Africa, I brought this music with me.”
“Back in Cape Town I remember that I auditioned for a band
and I was wearing studs on my jeans. They liked me so I began
playing with this very popular group called the High Five Plus
Two. We played Fats Domino tunes, Little Richard and Jerry
Lee Lewis titles and stuff by Buddy Holly and the father of
rock & roll, Chuck Berry.”
“In a local band competition an R&B band led by a guy named
Morris Goldberg who played reeds, won. Later Goldberg went
on to play with Hugh Masakela and on the Graceland album
tour with Paul Simon. So, when our band’s piano player got
sick, I picked up the piano and learned how to play those hip
R&B licks in our band.”
“My sister liked jazz and also my parents were listening to
Django Rheinhardt, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and
Glenn Miller, so I was exposed to lots of jazz at home as well as
to the music of the African penny whistles on the street. I
heard the exciting music of the Black Township, this was
Mbakanqga and Kwela music.”
By age 16, Sagov met a jazz bass player who was a romantic
charismatic character; his name was George Kussel and he led
the teen fully into the jazz world.
“The jazz scene in South Africa was a scene in the country that
was strikingly integrated and different from the rest of life
there. It was a life of beat philosophy, drugs like marijuana, sex
and jazz. (naturally we also never inhaled!) This amazing music
represented the fusion of European and Black cultures. This
was an unusual niche in the apartheid society in which blacks
and whites could reach out to one another. It was multicultural
SOUL. It wasn’t about ‘it’s a black thing and you wouldn’t
understand it.’ The jazz scene was always integrated in SouthAfrica. It was a statement that said ‘we aren’t a part of this
Apartheid thing.’ There was sex across the color bar, and clubs
that were openly integrated even in the face of it being totally
illegal. Part of why it was sanctioned however is because the
government was also using these jazz clubs as locations where
they could spy on people, as many in attendance were real
radicals and revolutionaries.”
“The music was great. Stan Getz, Bud Shank and John
Mehegan came and toured. This was the ’50s and early ‘60s.
They told us that we were creating the only jazz outside
America that was REALLY jazz. Many of the same elements
of race, social protest, suffering and pressing through racism
were the same as they had been in America. Grass- roots
Political resistance efforts were happening at that time and
people were coming together around those themes as artists.”
“Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), Chris McGregor, Kippie
Moeketsi, Dennis Mpali, Dudu Pukwana, Todd Matshikisa,
Early Mbuzi, Martin Mgajima, Winston Manququo, Johnny
Gertse, Monty Weber, Chris Schilder, Midge Pike, Cecil
Barnard (Hotep), Basil Moses, Hugh Masekela and Miriam
Makeba were some of my heroes at that time. I got to play
with all of these amazing people and they would come and visit
at my home as well. I always had sessions going on with jazz
people. This was striking because it had such a social, spiritual
and integrationist agenda around the music.”
“I saw jazz as an oasis. Dollar Brand was such a brilliant player
and actor. There was this amazing club called the Vortex
which was owned by an Indonesian guy with incredible dope
and good food and the music there was always very, very
powerful. Sometimes Dollar would be playing and there was so
much black humor in the society there . . . there was a deep
feeling of implacable forces of oppression on one level, but we
were young and simply into the music. Our mix of African
and American jazz elements had the power behind it and
Dollar would perform satirical guerilla theatre, skits, poetry and
always his deeply soulful and swinging music.”“These years as a teenager were wild
years for me. I had a fling with an Indian
woman, which was totally illegal. One
day when my parents were away in
Europe, my sister and I had one of our
open jam sessions. By morning the house
was filled with musicians sleeping
everywhere and I was in bed with Aisha.
Then my aunt showed up unexpectedly,
checked all this out, phoned my parents
and the next thing I knew, my sister and I
had to live with my aunt till my parents
returned!”
One night a wild jazz guy named Bob
Tizard who played bass and trombone
decided I needed to learn how to play
“Perdido” and so we stayed up all night
playing in a trio with Don Stegman on
drums from 1 am to 7 am until I finally
got it and could keep track of the 32 bar
song form with cyclical changes and
improvise on something other than the
blues..”
While all this jazz life was going on, the
young Stanley Sagov was also heavily
influenced by medicine, as he’d been in
and out of hospitals for most of his life
with all the terrible surgeries to correct
his club feet. Throughout high school he
played music but he was equally drawn to
science. Rebellious in high school, still he
received high grades. There was never
any pressure from his family to become a
physician, but because he’d had
experienced so much surgery, he had met
lots of MDs and was drawn to the
profession. At age 13, he went to
England for several operations there and
met a great Harley Street surgeon known
as Dennis Browne who headed up very
formal tours of the hospital dressed in
striped pants and tails. Dennis Browne
was a famous orthopedist who was
subsequently Knighted by the Queen for
his work and he took a liking to the
young Stanley. Sir Dennis wrote to him
through medical school and he asked him
to study and come to work with him in
London. Stanley also was inspired by
several uncles who were prominent
physicians in Cape Town who were alsovery important in his choice of a medical
career. In addition, Sagov had evolved a
deep understanding about how
Apartheid was so oppressive to people of
color and how that affected the death
rate in rural areas of South Africa. In
those days, 50% of black children
perished by the age of five years old in
rural areas. The life expectancy was
essentially plotted against the color of
one’s skin and even by the depth of the
pigment. As a doctor, Stanley could see
how unfair the society was based simply
on medical outcomes. He wanted to
make a difference. So, in 1962, Stanley
decided that he would attend University
of Cape Town to study medicine.
“At this time I was still playing in clubs
and had moved from guitar to piano.
Just before going to the university, I had
the feeling that I really wanted to know
more about harmony and counterpoint.
The Juritz family had moved in next door
and the husband was a professor of
physics who also played first rate bassoon
and harpsichord with the Cape Town
Symphony.”
“We became amazing friends. Here I
was, a seventeen year old Jewish boy
hanging out with a patrician musician
named John Juritz. We had a great
affinity and he taught me recorder and
introduced me to my first oboe teacher.
We formed a group that played baroque
chamber music., I learned a lot about
classical music from this saturation
experience and played oboe in an
orchestra and opera company at the
University of Cape Town. He was a very
important part of my musical career.
Even as I was studying medical journals I
also read through every page of Grove’s
Dictionary of Music; I wanted to learn
everything about the subject and I was all
over the map musically all the while
studying medicine to the hilt as well.”
“I wanted the music, but at the same
time I wanted to have a good impact on
people who had such terrible medical
care in the black townships outside ofCape Town. As a trainee, I became
skilled at re-hydrating scores of patients
in our well equipped hospital. They’d
walk in looking like death and leave
looking pretty well, but then they might
die a week later from something as simple
as chicken pox or measles or
gastroenteritis. I could take care of black
people but black medical students were
not allowed to see white patients. That
was how insane the conditions were there
for medical students and doctors then.”
“In the black townships there was an
amazing music scene. Though black
people were not considered citizens in
South Africa, they were given 13% of the
land, usually the least arable land and
they were only allowed to be in South
Africa as workers. The townships were
essentially ghetto compounds with
thousands of segregated people living just
12 to 15 miles out of town and all of
them either walking or taking buses to
work in the city every day. In order to go
into a township, you had to have papers
and report to the police to tell them
where you were going and why. I went
every week to perform with the musicians
and never reported to anyone but I never
felt afraid. I knew that my black friends
would always take care of me. It was
such a police state. I’d go every week,
perform in concerts and then take
musicians home in my car. Sometimes
there would be riots in the township, but
they’d put me behind a piano and protect
me.”
“I worked in the townships as a doctor as
well. As a senior med student I always
had the need to do medicine AND music.
I always gave equal time to music as I did
to medicine. It took a lot of energy, but I
had a real NEED to do and have both in
my life. I was always totally prepared
every day for school and I never
crammed. I was a disciplined student by
day but also a mad man at night! We
had block parties, with music playing all
the time and we’d even bring in huge
grape trees and have these Bacchanalian
orgies! Once we got arrested and I wastaken before the university council! The university issued a
public edict that I was not allowed to go to parties!”
“There was this element of desperate gaiety and the flouting of
authority in my life but I was always a diligent medical
student.”
“I got into the jazz scene in Johannesburg as well through a
connection with South African born pianist Chris McGregor
who had been playing in a band for the show,”Sponono.” This
show followed the groundbreaking jazz opera King Kong, the
story of an African boxer who was a tragic hero and this show
also spawned a lot of other musicals. Miriam Makeba was in
King Kong. Chris also recorded a very important big bandalbum at the Castle Lager sponsored the area jazz festival . It
mixed jazz with Black Township music and documented our
unique South African synthesis of the tradition. I had the
heady privilege of playing with many of the musicians who
were part of this era and this ushered me further into the
African jazz experience.
“The music was a hot, heady mixture and some rich white
people who’d be, in a certain way, slumming, by inviting us over
to their very courtly upper crust houses enjoyed the music and
blacks and whites would play together. This was totally illegal.
Sometimes I’d sleep over in Soweto which was also illegal but I
always felt protected by my relationship with the musicians and
the spirit of the music.”“In 1967, I went to London and there, through my London
family, I met Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, two of the big
jazz stars of that time. Cleo told me to look up jazz singer
Sheila Jordan when I got to New York and after three weeks of
phone tag I finally got lucky. She took me under her wing and
introduced me to all the jazz greats of the era including
Ornette Coleman, George Russell, Jaki Byard, Elvin Jones,
Roland Kirk, Jimmy Garrison, Charles Moffet, Ted Curson,
Howard McGhee, Booker Ervin, Billy Hart and so many
others. I had moved to New York after having taken the
medical exams in South Africa and immediately went to work
at Bellevue Hospital, Grasslands Hospital and New York
Hospital and all the while I was playing at night in clubs like
Slugs and the Village Vanguard, The Village Gate, Pooky’s Pub
and Musart with many of my newly found jazz friends that
Sheila had introduced me to. Some of the people who saw me
at the clubs ended up in my care at Bellevue and they
wondered if I really knew what I was doing as they’d seen me
as a jazz musician the night before!”
“The music was inspiring me so much and I knew that I
wanted to learn still more, especially about jazz. Around that
time I heard that Gunther Schuller was starting a jazz division
at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, so I applied
to the school and after two auditions and letters of
recommendation from Bill Evans and Ted Curson, I was
accepted in the jazz department. I moved to Boston and I was
surprised to find out that although I was a jazz piano major,
they had no piano teacher for me! I protested and they asked
who I would like to have so I suggested some of the great
players I’d heard in New York, like Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson,
Hank Jones , Roland Hanna , John Lewis or Jaki Byard.”
“Gunther said ‘OK, we’ll get one of those people for you. In
the meantime I studied with classical piano teachers who
taught me the correct fingering and hand positions that I’d
never learned. I practiced carefully for three months and then
the school flew me to New York weekly to study with the great
Jaki Byard. After a few weeks, other students heard about this
and so the school decided to fly Jaki to Boston on a weekly basis
to teach several students at NEC.”
“During my time at NEC I was also holding down positions as
a physician at Harvard University Health Services, the student
medical center at MIT and I was even the prison physician at
Walpole Prison. I also moonlighted at various emergency
rooms and in intensive care units. Again, I always needed to
balance the rigors of medicine with those of music. I had a
wife and family at this time as well.”
“I put together a band called “Sagov” and it featured
trumpeter Stanton Davis and drummer Anton Fig, both
classmates at NEC at the time. We opened for Gary Burton at
one point and the famous jazz manager and booking agent Ted
Kurland offered us a deal to go on the road and record. It was,
for the music business, a pretty good deal, but in contrast to the
steadiness and security of my medical career and in thinking
about my wife and child, it seemed impossible to take the on
challenges of touring.”
“I never expected to stay in Boston after my stint at NEC but I
found New York to be a ‘cutting contest’ which was very harsh,
almost racism in reverse. I was sympathetic to the reason for
this, but really preferred the camaraderie of playing with
musicians like I had done in South Africa and in Boston. I’m
somewhat wistful about those choices now but I feel now like
having my high tech studio with all the latest gear enables me
to keep my chops up and write music. I now produce about a
CD’s worth of music per month in my mini studio, playing all
the instruments myself.”
“I’m idealistic about music. Jazz is a bridge between races.
Neither could exist without the other. Jazz is a very unique
music and rock and roll exists only because of it. It’s a mixture
of European influences with sophisticated African rhythms and
it’s a discourse, a conversation that is going on that can only
happen in the moment, in real time. It’s being open to each
other, in a creative context in which everyone is winning.”“The title of my new CD is Looking
Forward to Remembering The
Future. That’s what came up with
this album . . . it’s music that in a
way, compared to music I’ve played,
is pretty serene, reflective, drawing
on tradition, but still fresh. It’s got
its own group feel. It has eclectic
openness to all that is in this place, at
this moment. The meaning of the
title has to do with the fact that by
the time you and I know anything,
it’s already over. We’re never in the
present because it’s already over.
We’re operating as if it’s now, but in
truth, it’s already over. So, in jazz,
we’re remembering that note that’s
over and responding to that and the
irresistible drive to get to the next
moment. Jazz is a sexy mix of head
and heart, and in order to experience
a bit of now, you have to be impelled
by the future oriented momentum of
the music. It’s like making love with
the other musicians in real time right
in front of all of our audience.
Nobody really dies in jazz, Miles,
Dizzy, Ellington, John Coltrane,
Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong,
Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, they’re
all really still so alive in ourpassionate resonance to remember
them and anticipate and make the
next possible musical gesture happen
right now!”
STANLEY SAGOV & The
Remembering The Future Jazz
Band is a bunch of grizzled jazz
veterans who never really grew up,
still love to play the music and want
to share that experience in the
moment of creation with YOU!!
STANLEYSAGOV Summer


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