Monday, June 1, 2009

How Benny Goodman and WKCR Saved Me

The senior parent dinner at my younger daughter's overrated Brooklyn private school and I'm dreading it. Don't get me wrong I'm a staunch supporter of public schools and my older daughter did fairly well by them. It's too complicated to get into here. Back to the dinner, I've made few friends from this group and my wife and I are seated at a table with two couples I can't stand. Luckily, though, another couple's male half is noticeably attentive to the background piano player who is subtlety mixing in a very competent selection of bop standards. I knew that the father was a drummer, amongst other things, for an African Dance Troupe. He needed a few jobs to pay the tuition. I said, that's "Ornithology" by Charlie Parker isn't it? He nodded yes. I said, "I think it's based on the chords of "How High The Moon" but not being a musician I never understood that," and that I had Benny Goodman's "How High The Moon" stuck in my head. He said he had been listening to the Goodman celebration at WKCR and then he and I were "off to the races" with conversation. Normally I would feel bad about excluding the silent others, but that night I didn't care about the boring and pretentious. Later a single female parent and another private school "bottom feeder" showed up and she easily moved into the WKCR conversation as she had been listening to as well. Now I wonder what will save me from the phony graduation ceremony Thank you WKCR, and thank you Benny and a tip of the hat to my father and his generation that loved this great music.
btw The arranger of Goodman's version of How High The Moon was Eddie Sauter and he lived in Brooklyn.

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