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!

4 responses to “DAN MORGENSTERN REMEMBERS LESTER YOUNG (March 3, 2017)

  1. Dear Michael —

    This here’s exclusively for you: An original autograph of the great Buddy Tate; he gave it to me in 1984 when he was in my hometown as the member of “The Great Eight”: Billy Butterfield, Johnny Mince, Buddy Tate, Red Norvo, Tal Farlow, Teddy Wilson, Slam Stewart & Sam Woodyard. — Buddy signed the famous photo from 1940 which can be found in George T. Simon’s “The Big Bands”.

    If you’d be interested, I can send the other autographs too.

    Cheers to you, Bruno

  2. Don "Zoot"Conner

    Thanks, Michael, for posting more of your informal interview with the ambassador of jazz, Dan Morgenstern. His Pres recollections almost brought me to tears of joy; it’s the same sad-glad feeling I get when I play a Billie record. Dan is one of a kind.

  3. Doug Pomeroy

    Yeah, Michael! Three cheers. You have done a wonderful thing in recording these videos, and I look forward to the rest of them. I could listen to Dan reminisce forever and I hope you will record him as long as he’s willing to talk!


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