The epitome of cool, or “Gone, man, gone”:
This studio portrait of Mr. Wettling, appropriately inscribed, occupied a place of honor in drummer and friend Walt Gifford’s scrapbook. Two other facets of the very talented Geo. can be found here and .
Don’t let the period percussive gestures from the apparently ancient disc put you off. To quote an expert jazz drummer I know, “You could play that in any context and it would sound good. It never gets old.” In fact, if possible, I would urge listeners to aurally push aside the glories of Fats, Tommy, Bunny, and McDonough, and simply concentrate on the shifting sound-carpets Mr. Wettling creates for us, alive in 1937 and alive now.
And here — magically — brought to you by the invisible forces of the internet — is another pose from the same studio session. Intent on being cool. Cool, you know, is serious business:
Whether playing drums, painting, writing satiric doggerel, playing at being a late-Forties hipster, George Wettling was a treasure. Listen, consider, and be uplifted.
Some cultural critics can balance these photographs against THE NIGHT BEFORE BOPMAS and arrive at a point of balance — I think amused masquerade plus affectionate mockery feels right. And as a personal aside, perhaps a decade after the poem and the photograph, I dressed up for Halloween as a “beatnik,” complete with beret, cigarette holder, and goatee created with my mother’s eyebrow pencil. I think I had to explain at many doors what my costume was. Geo. did it better.
May your happiness increase!