Monday, February 22, 2016

Autographs, Monk & Errol

Usually I'm not one to ask people for their autographs. In fact, I recall being at a show where I mentioned being a fan of the performer and I was nauseated when someone from the production company chirped, "Maybe you can get [the performer's] autograph tonight!" Never mind that I had spoken with the person before and we were sort of acquainted. I just don't see autographs as a way to bond me with someone.

But every so often, I'll go against the grain. Like last week, as seen in the picture above. Author Robin D. G. Kelley spoke at Pitt. I loved his Thelonious Monk biography so much that I really didn't want it to end. It's really exhaustive in its details, and written so well.

So I had to have him autograph the book. He said that he too didn't want the book to end when he finally was done with it. Understandable, considering he spent about 14 years on it. Then we got into a brief discussion about a few Monk performances at Newport. I mentioned using the book as a reference when reviewing the album of the 1959 set. Then Kelley started talking about the year that they played "Japanese Folk Song," and how Charlie Rouse was on fire during that tune. Turns out it was one of the few Monk albums that I don't think I have (outside of the umpteen quartet dates from later tours).

Kelley was actually in town to talk about Errol Garner, due to the Garner archive being housed at Pitt. He made a pretty compelling argument about the relationship between the pianist and his manager, Martha Glaser. Interesting stuff.

There's been all kinds of stuff going on in town over the past couple weeks. Ben Goldberg's trio was back here two Mondays ago. This past Saturday, Kahil El'Zabar brought the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble back to town, this time with Hamiet Bluiett and Craig Harris. Details are forthcoming.

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