I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO GO, BUT I COULDN’T

Had someone taken me, I could have seen Coleman Hawkins play — he did live until 1969 — but this concert I missed: my parents did not know each other yet.

That’s Hawkins, Freddy Johnson, piano, and Maurice van Kleef, drums, in Amsterdam, April 20, 1938.  The inscription reads: “To Aunt Hattie, In remembrance of all her kindness to my family and self. I shall never forget it, Freddy.”  The photograph is in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Here’s something surprisingly rare — not only because pieces of paper don’t always survive for eighty years — the impetus for this posting.

The seller’s link is here ; the price: $767.99 or “make offer.”  (His other items are intriguing — some posters are autographed — but lovers of “pure jazz” will find only a Louis Jordan concert poster to fixate on.)

To make up for the concert that perhaps none of my readers attended, here (thanks to Heinz Becker, one of the great gracious swing benefactors of YouTube, who has uploaded a stellar record library for us) is that trio, a marvel of swing energies:

I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW:

The ferocious SWINGING IN THE GROOVE:

DEAR OLD SOUTHLAND:

WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS:

WHEN BUDDHA SMILES:

and the gorgeous BLUES EVERMORE (a themeless improvisation on ONE HOUR, which some YouTube correcter tells me is IF I COULD BE WITH YOU ONE HOUR TONIGHT):

What rhapsodic majesty and unflagging swing he displayed.  These sides do not make up for having missed the concert, but we grasp the consolations we can.

And just for fun: I couldn’t go to this 1949 jazz party either.  I was closer to being born (my parents had met and more) but it still didn’t help.  I’m glad I am able to go hear music now!

May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO GO, BUT I COULDN’T

  1. Wonderful stuff – I was born in the mid 60s to non-jazz fan parents and therefore missed loads of opportunities in spite of living just outside of Boston. I am glad I did get to see Miles and Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz and Diz and BB King and Ray Charles and Sarah Vaughn and Michael Brecker and so many more who have left us …

  2. That’s an astonishing inscription. Presumably Aunt Hattie was somehow instrumental (no pun intended) in sheltering a Dutch Jewish family from the Nazis?
    And also hip to jazz!

  3. maevespain@comcast.net

    I had the pleasure of seeing him play at Boston’s Symphony Hall in one of the last Granz Jazz at the Philamonic tours, maybe in ‘67. He walked on stage alone but was weak and a little disheveled. But he began Body and Souland the whole audience sighed My 19 year old big brother let me drive home on the highway. While we were chatting I thought I saw some headlights coming down our side of the divided highway and as I began to say “Is that car on our side of the highway?” he reached over and yanked the wheel just avoiding a crash. Later when we were a little more composed I said “We could have been killed”, he responded, “yah but we would’ve died happy after seeing Coleman Hawkins.” – Maeve Spain

    Sent from my iPhone

    >>

  4. This goes right to my heart. And I am glad you lived to share it with us.

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