On October 24, 1929, Bennie Moten, Lud Gluskin, Horace Heidt, Junie C. Cobb, Jack Hylton, and a few other bands made records. In the United States, terrible things were happening to the economy. But in Munich, Germany, our hero Dan Morgenstern was born. Whether his first cries were in 4/4, there is no evidence, but I would venture that it was an early example of spontaneous scat singing.
Given the math above, even I can add up the figures to write that Dan will be 88 this week. I’m not the only one celebrating. There will be a musical birthday party hosted by David Ostwald, who leads the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band, at Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, New York City, this Wednesday, the 25th, from 5:30 to 7 PM. And I’ll bet Dan chirps a few with the Band. You can reserve online (and you should) here.
On Saturday, October 28th, from 1-4 PM, Loren Schoenberg (a very good friend of Dan’s and a scholar in his own right) will host a celebration / interview of Dan at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, 58 West 129th Street, New York City. Details — to reserve a seat / buy a ticket at a nominal price — here — or here.
While you’re making your reservations, a little Morgenstern-music to accompany your mouse-clicks:
I don’t have a jazz club or museum as a place to honor Dan. But JAZZ LIVES is not without its resources, and as readers know, I have had the honor of interviewing Dan at length . . . an utterly gratifying experience for me, so I will share two as-yet-unseen segments.
One takes Dan back to Copenhagen in 1938. I knew he had delighted in Fats Waller on Fats’ European tour, but I hadn’t known he had seen the Quintet of the Hot Club of France AND the Mills Brothers. Dan also recalls his first jazz records. Wonderful memories:
Remembering the Quintet also led to Dan’s enthusiastic portrait of violinist Svend Asmussen:
“A wonderfully enveloping good nature,” Dan says of Fats. He would never say it of himself, but it is no less true. It is our immense good fortune to know Mr. Morgenstern.
May your happiness increase!