I’m still riding the high from playing with pianist Benny Green on Monday night. Wow! What a way to start a week. Benny as I knew he would be was an absolute gem to deal with and was so generous with his time, knowledge and music. We played to 48 very enthusiastic and complimentary people at my friend Norah’s house. The vibe was happening from the get go. Good people, good wine, good atmosphere and most of all good music. I have to admit I was quite nervous at the beginning as it was a pretty intimate space and it took me a second to get used to the fact that I was playing with a major badass on the piano!!! As the set wore on I got more comfortable and was able to settle in and relax and therefore the music settled in and became more relaxed. It was awesome!
I like Benny because he is like many of the guys that come to play The Cellar. He’s a jazz nerd (just like me). He lives and breaths the music. Its all he talks about, all he listens to and all he thinks about. I managed to get away without spending to much money but he did recommend three things that I have enjoyed immensely. Well, two…I haven’t got the third one yet. We share an affinity for Hampton Hawes and I was missing “Everyone Likes Hampton Hawes” and Benny also recommnended his book called RAISE UP OFF ME that came out in 2001. Here is what Amazon says:
Hampton Hawes [1928–1977] was one of jazz’s greatest pianists. Among his peers from California the self-taught Hawes was second only to Oscar Peterson. At the time of his celebration as New Star of the Year by downbeat magazine (1956), Hawes was already struggling with a heroin addiction that would lead to his arrest and imprisonment, and the interruption of a brilliant career. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy granted Hawes an Executive Pardon. In eloquent and humorous language Hampton Hawes tells of a life of suffering and redemption that reads like an improbable novel. Gary Giddins has called it “a major contribution to the literature of jazz.” This book includes a complete discography and eight pages of photographs.
The last thing that I ended up buying was a JOE HENDERSON date on RED RECORDS called STANDARD JOE with Rufus Reid and Al Foster that is super burning!!!!!