After Hours Diary

“It’s quarter to three, there’s no one in the place….”

It was just the four of us, fairly late Wednesday night – John Loach and his trumpet, John Alcorn singing without a mic, Mark Eisenman at the keys and me on bass – huddled around the piano at Loach’s place in a tight circle, playing a few “good old good ones”, the songs of our lives, making music for our own pleasure. It was all about the mood and …

Unsung Bassists, Part Five

The series continues with a look at four bassists who had prolific freelance careers mostly in the mainstream, small-group swing field – John Simmons, Al Hall, Al Lucas and Gene Ramey. These men were born within five years of each other and their careers often overlapped and intersected in the patchwork quilt of New York jazz in the 1940s and ’50s. Sometimes, one would replace another with a given artist; for example, each of them played and recorded extensively

I’ve Got the Hippie, Hippie Shakes

Recently I got into a discussion with two female library colleagues who are my age, about the young of today and some of their customs and….. “idioms”. You know….Who Bruno Mars is (which they knew but I didn’t.) How Facebook is rapidly becoming old-hat and being replaced by things like Instagram and Snapchat. The preponderance of ghastly plaid shorts and stupid, undersized straw fedoras on young men. How old words like “hip”, “cool” and “hipster” have become co-opted by …

Oucho Marks, or Bruising in the Bronx

The Boston Red Sox did some more crazy stuff over the weekend that ties in with the 20-run game I wrote about on Thursday.

On Thursday night, I decided to treat myself to some home theatre, the Red Sox against their nemesis at Yankee Stadium II in the first of 4 games, they’re always like Troy vs. Sparta. It was a four-and-a-half hour marathon with everything except flying elephants and a public beheading. The Sox won 9-8 after being …

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy – Laughers

On Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 20-4 in Fenway Park. This is what’s known in baseball as a laugher, so called because these kinds of games are inherently farcical. It’s rare for any team to score as many as 20 runs and usually in these cases the losing team stops wasting pitchers and will use some bench/position players to pitch. This also gets pretty funny, often because these guys are not half-bad and stop

Unsung Bassists, Part Four

The series continues with a look at the great swing veteran Sid Weiss and three guys who are mostly overlooked, despite (or maybe because of) playing bass with famous big bands – Junior Raglin and Ernie Shepard with Duke Ellington, and Eddie Jones with Count Basie.

5. – Sid Weiss. If a soundtrack of The Swing Era was ever assembled, Sid Weiss would be playing bass on more than his fair share of it. He played with four key …