I know some people think birthday celebrations are silly. The cake isn’t good for us; HAPPY BIRTHDAY is only eight bars long and most musicians feel trapped when it’s requested. And some of us feel, “Gee, I’m too old for a paper hat and . . . where will they put all those candles?”
But I think that birthdays are a good thing. The Beloved had one recently, and it was very sweet. And — after all — isn’t it just our way of saying, “We are SO glad you are here?” Who could argue with those sentiments?
So I want to let everyone know that this coming Wednesday, David Ostwald and the Louis Armstrong Centennial Band will be celebrating Dan Morgenstern’s eighty-third birthday in the best way . . . by playing hot jazz for him at Birdland from 5:30 to 7:15 PM.
The participants? Bria Skonberg, trumpet (and no doubt vocals); Dan Block, clarinet and alto sax; Jim Fryer, trombone (ditto the above); James Chirillo, banjo; David Ostwald, tuba and commentary; Marion Felder, drums. And I’ll bet a blue-label sunburst Decca of THANKS A MILLION that there will be other musicians in the house who want to make their love for Dan public and resonant.
If you have to ask who Dan Morgenstern is, I don’t think you’ve been taking careful notes: scholar, lover of all sorts of good music, archivist, writer . . . and friend of the best. His liner notes educated so many of us and pointed us in the right directions, and he keeps on keeping on.
Birdland is at 315 West 44th Street and my guess is that the room will be full — so call 212.581.3080 to make sure there’s a place for you.
I can’t be there (I will be at Kennedy Airport, boarding the plane to Newcastle, UK, for the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party — Marcia Salter will stand in for me!) but perhaps one or two of my readers could come up to Dan and say, “JAZZ LIVES sent me.” That would be a great treat. (Or, if you don’t like that one, just tell him, “I found out about Hot Lips Page because of you.”)
And — what’s a birthday without a present? Spare Dan the socks or the cufflinks. Just send him our love. And this:
May your happiness increase.