Last Friday afternoon, I had the great privilege of sitting with Dan Morgenstern and hearing his priceless stories — priceless not only because they are real, first-hand experiences, but also because of the accurate eye and feeling heart that animates them for us in 2017. He is a great storyteller for these reasons. Here is the first post, with three video segments.
Dan and I share a mutual friend, the great jazz journalist Harriet Choice, who wrote “Jazz By Choice,” memorably, for the Chicago Tribune — she’s also a founding member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. When Harriet and I talked about interviewing Dan, she urged me, “Have Dan tell his story about Lester Young!” I didn’t need any encouragement.
In this first segment, Dan focuses on Buddy Tate, but his thoughts go to Lester, who sat next to Buddy in the Basie band. The first anecdote is about Lester’s kindness; the second, later, is about Lester the peaceable gladiator of swing.
and this. Prepare to be moved by something as wondrous as a Pres slow blues.
Blessed are those who create joy: Lester and Dan.
Dan’s evocative and candid essay about that night at Birdland, “Lester Leaps In,” can be found in his invaluable collection, LIVING WITH JAZZ, published by Pantheon (491-495).
May your happiness increase!