I first had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Dan Morgenstern at his Upper West Side apartment in March 2017, and every few months we’ve done it again. In an interview where he’d spoken of Robert Clairmont, he casually said, “Oh, that’s where I met Jimmy Baldwin,” and I felt like someone who finds a treasure chest in the middle of the living room, and made a note to ask Dan about Baldwin at a future meeting. Here’s what Dan recalled. . . seventy years later.
Characteristically, because Dan’s world is not narrow, we hear about Dan’s father, the novelist Soma Morgenstern, “The March of Time,” Gordon Clark(e) [I’ve been unable to find out more about this man and mentor, thus the ambivalent spelling], Alonzo Levister, Baldwin’s famous story “Sonny’s Blues,” Louis Armstrong, Ralph Ellison, the Newport Jazz Festival, and even “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Remarkable” is an understatement. We owe our friend and hero Dan more than this page could say.
And some appropriate music from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival:
May your happiness increase!