Dan Morgenstern is a remarkable person, lively and kind, and would be so if he had been a veterinarian with only a passing interest in music. But even better for us: he hung out with [and wrote about] some of the greatest artists we know and still revere. I continue to feel immensely fortunate that I could visit him, and that he so generously shared some candid loving stories of people who many of us know only as a photograph or a sound emerging from a speaker.
For those of you who have been otherwise occupied, and I understand, I have posted videos where Dan speaks of Tommy Benford, Frank Newton, Al Hall, Mary Lou Williams and her friends, Donald Lambert, Eubie Blake, Willie “the Lion” Smith, Nat Lorber, Buddy Tate, Gene Ramey, Lester Young (twice for Pres).
But before you leap in, a small caveat. Dan is soft-spoken, and my few comments from behind the camera are louder. Friends have pointed this out, and I have been penitent, citing inexperience rather than ego and I will balance the audio better on our future encounters. The first five videos are here.
More friends and heroes. Eddie Condon (and I had to say a few things, given my reverence for Eddie):
Buster Bailey, Stanley Dance, Coleman Hawkins, cameos by Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge, Joe Thomas, John S. Wilson, Billy Kyle, Louis, and Dan’s thoughts on writing about artists:
More about Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Ben Webster, with comments about Sir Charles Thompson, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker as well:
Notice in the second interview that Dan took an unpaid gig because “it will be good for the musicians.” And I am touched by Coleman Hawkins’ generosities (acceptance in to the tribe) to Dan — which Dan has repaid us ten thousandfold. More to come.
May your happiness increase!