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Death Of A Bebop Wife

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In the photo Grange boards plane to meet Al. (1960)

Death Of A Bebop Wife

by Grange (Lady Haig) Rutan

Published by Cadence Jazz Books, Redwood NY 13679

http://www.cadencebuilding.com/cadence/cjb.html

The modern pianist has a very special relationship with his drummer and his bassist. As his instrument has hammers, it resembles the drums; and as it has strings, it's like the bass. His position in the rhythm section is more detached, and more ambiguous than that of his partners, the bass and the drums. If he feels like it, he can stop playing for a few bars and let the bass define the harmony and the drums ensure the rhythm. He can suggest new harmonic directions, fall into step with a soloist, then break away a moment later. On again, off again. He opens or he closes. He's present at the heart of the rhythm, then suddenly he's gone.

---Laurent De Wilde

from chapter 5, p. 21

There's a scene in Grange Rutan's long-awaited book about her first husband Al Haig in which the legendary piano player introduces his young bride to Miles Davis. The men had played together with Charlie Parker in the tumultuous beginning years of bebop, and Al was pianist on one of Miles' Birth of the Cool sessions. By the summer of 1960, Miles Davis was packing in crowds at the Blackhawk in San Francisco, but Al Haig was scuffling for work. After turning down Miles' urgent invitation to sit in with the band, Al sheepishly confesses he and Grange have no place to sleep. Without hesitation, Miles reaches into his pocket and hands Al Haig the key to his dressing room. It was there, on a stained mattress in a shabby back room of a nightclub, the couple consummated their marriage. The bride looked brave, despite 2 black eyes.

Much about jazz, its artists, its working conditions, its devoted followers, and both the generosity and freakouts, is revealed in that passage. There have been many books written about the history of the music, including the death-defying years of bebop, but here's one long overdue from the perspective of a woman who loved a man who created some of it. And Grange Rutan goes beyond her own marriage of 2 1/2 years with Al Haig, into his next marriage which that girl did not survive. Rumors of murder persist to this day, and Grange presents her view as to whether Al could have done it.

Please consider, we are talking about a creator of some of the most gentle and sensitive beauty on jazz piano to come before Bill Evans. Here's a man whose daily warm-up practice involved pieces by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy, and especially Chopin. Imagine if you can Chopin playing Night In Tunisia, and you'll get the idea. With a touch as light as Teddy Wilson's, it was Al Haig that Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker had to have in the group if they could get him. And shortly after, Stan Getz would launch a career of gorgeous gold to Al Haig's accompaniment. Could a quiet, dedicated artist like this hurt a woman?

What did it take in a segregated 1945 to be one of the only white men to play this music? What was required to learn the lightning twists and turns of bebop lines? Who can hum for me right now the melodies to Driftin' On A Reed or Quasimodo? I often compare learning bebop to identifying the opening movements of the Haydn symphonies by number. What does it take out of someone to do that...and to do it every night between the hours of 10 and 3 in the morning---maybe 40 minutes on and 40 minutes off---in a smoke-filled room where the audience is getting drunk...and perhaps worse?

Lady Haig, thus dubbed by Dizzy when he met and noticed her regal qualities, does not disguise the wild streak that got her hooked up with Al Haig in the first place. Living in a comfortable Presbyterian home in Montclair, New Jersey, the family nevertheless found itself close enough to the Meadow Brook Ballroom to enjoy the influence of the great dance bands of the late '30s and early '40s. As Grange became a teenager, she was listening to jazz DJs out of New York, instead of that new rock 'n roll stuff. When it came time to be out of school and at her first job, the City's where she headed and meeting jazz players was her goal. It was a risky challenge, considering she vowed to maintain purity for marriage.

While the story is gripping and all jazz fans love to hear new anecdotes about the masters of the music, it's Grange Rutan's wonderful writing style that you'll notice at once. This work of about 550 pages, including index, chronology and discography, 15 years in the writing, is like a scrapbook. There is something of a linear development, but she can't be hemmed in by a structure like that. Maybe it resembles a screenplay, that darts back and forth in time...or a conversation over lunch delightfully going every which way. Actually her style is like a jazz solo. Some of what she plays she's played before, and she relates the material over those same chord changes again and again, but then she's into new territory and trying to describe an experience one more time in a different way.

That's how it is when you remember a love from long ago. Images stick in the back of one's memory and sometimes even the sound of a "tinkling piano in the next apartment." We have both foolish and very serious things in Death of a Bebop Wife, but about one thing there is no doubt: Lady Haig has expressed to us what her heart meant. We begin, "I long to see Al's face. He's still in there and his power over me grows stronger in spite of his death. I never knew what he was going to say next. Some mornings I would wake to see his handsome head leaning on the palm of his hand, staring at me, silently crying. I just didn't know how to handle all this drama. Let me try to pull this together, not just for you but for both of us."

http://www.grangeladyhaigrutan.com/

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Looks very interesting, jazzolog, thanks for the tip. Is that your own review?

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Yep, would credit otherwise. Weirdly I became acquainted with both Bob Rusch and Grange Rutan quite separately...and maybe the coincidence landed me a copy to review. Never tried this before, and decided to put it online when both Rolling Stone and Down Beat turned me down. I hear it's selling well, so maybe those zines will get one of their own people to take a look. JazzIs will publish their take on it next issue I think.

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I'm reading it now. Strange book, strange people.

Edited by marcello

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I put up a copy of this review, as something of a lark, over at MySpace...and who do you think showed up for a bit of a Mother's Day romp yesterday? Grange, at age 69, has set up the coolest pad in the joint and, if somehow, you're in there too you must stop by! http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea...DEFA57A46135983

Her comment at my little hovel~~~

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MOTHER'S DAY

Just returning from The Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, and a photo shoot with my agent, I laugh outloud thinking that myspace will create bebop havoc with the likes of this wonderful review by Mr. R. C. a kahoona in his own right. The book took a lifetime, or so it seemed, however, AL HAIG deserves to be remembered as a JAZZ MASTER of THE PIANO. I'm just glad I am the the wife who cared about the music. L. H.

Posted by LADY HAIG on Sunday, May 13, 2007 at 3:23 PM

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...0A960E845864897

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Excellent!

That's a fine review you wrote, too. Stick around!

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So what's the short story on her take on the death of Haig's 2nd wife?

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did not realize this was here already - I've been reading the book and I consider it a major contribution to the jazz literature - it's rather long, so I hope this is ok, but I am going to copy and paste here a little interview with myself about my feelings about this book and Haig:

Ok, so, what are you obsessed with these days?

I am reading the new book about Al Haig, called Death of a Bebop wife, by one of his ex-wives, Grange Rutan

I heard about that. How is it?

I am not enjoying the experience.

Why not?

Well, let’s put it this way – suppose you were very close friends with a semi-public and semi-legendary figure. Suppose he died suddenly, and you found out, right afterwards, that he considered you to be one of his closest friends, which both flattered and surprised you. And that you, at his widow’s request, spoke at his funeral. Now suppose that over the years you made no secret of your friendship with said person, were quite proud of it as a matter of fact and talked about it a fair amount on internet bulletin boards - after all, as I said, you were proud to be associated with this person, a brilliant artist who was a key figure in the history of jazz but who rarely got the degree of musical credit he deserved; and imagine that his reputation was further clouded by certain rumors you felt to be unsubstantiated and false and which, on many occasions, you told people were unsubstantiated and false; suppose years later you read a book about him and discovered that certain things you had either denied or not known about were true, that he was indeed guilty of some very bad things, of sociopathic behavior including rape and beatings and psychological abuse and god-knows-what else. Well, than, how would you feel?

None too good

Exactly.

How do you know everything in the book is true?

Some of it probably is not true, some of it is obviously complete crap, but I believe the rest and that’s enough to depress and upset me.

So what are you going to do?

My first thought was to take his recordings and burn them.

Have you done that yet?

My second thought was to not act on my first thought. The music is/was still important. Haig is one of the central figures in jazz history, in my opinion, he changed the sound of the piano and he codified certain standard chord changes and he was a brilliant pianist – praised by everyone, a big influence on people like Hank Jones, whom I met through him, on Tommy Flanagan, and many others – and, damn, I liked him and I miss him. This is very difficult. But I don't want to be one of those people who denies victims their right to a public recognition and acknowledgment of their suffering; on the other hand I don’t want to think of myself as the friend of a physically and psychologically abusive rapist (apparently he raped the author of the book, who later married him. Yes, I know this raises other questions, but the victim’s self-destructive behavior does not mitigate the viciousness of the initial act).

Sounds like he was not a nice person

I cling to the hope that maybe I can some day accept some picture of Haig as a complex and multi-layered personality – but abuse is not a ‘complex’ act in any way that really means anything in any profound way, abuse is not worthy of being tolerated in any detached intellectual way, abuse is not some sort of abstract philosophical aberration, abuse is not something that has multi-layers of meaning, abuse is disgusting and repulsive. Which is how I feel right now about anyone – like myself – who could befriend such an animal. Disgusted and repulsed. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that many of the opinions expressed in the book, particularly by ex-wives and ex-in-laws, seem not to reflect that there are two sides to this behavioral coin; by which I do NOT mean that there may be some explanation or excuse for Al Haig’s behavior, but that the book really makes clear that there’s plenty of mental illness to go around here, that these sick, sick relationships were nurtured by all parties involved, by things like Bonnie Haig’s mother’s apparent constant state of denial (Bonnie, a severe and distrubed alcoholic, was the wife whose death led to murder charges against Haig, for which he was acquitted), by the author who married her rapist, by all the ex-wives whose emotional dossiers we shall never see exposed in any public forum.

Good points –

Well, maybe, but none of that changes the reality of Haig’s behavior. I remember that the pianist Dick Katz told me years ago that many people believed the murder charges against Haig because they thought, from witnessing his past behavior, that he was capable of such a thing. But the author of the book clearly believes Haig did not murder Bonnie Haig, which comes as something of a relief, but is small compensation for my current state of shock at this book’s revelations.

What do you think? Did he or didn’t he?

Well...one thing I learned from the book is that Haig was NOT a drunk at the time of Bonnie Haig’s death, which destroys one of my prior illusions, that the incident was probably the result of some mutually drunken quarrel and struggle (Bonnie died from falling down the stairs), and that Haig likely had no clear memory of the whole thing – now I believe that there was some kind of fierce and angry argument and that Al Haig may, indeed, have pushed her down those stairs in anger – not a pre-meditated act but one of anger compounded by what may have been his frustration at her severe alcoholism and what was likely the culmination of a mutually-abusive relationship – an impulsive act, perhaps.

Wow.

I told you, these were really sick people – and yet...

What?

I was very young when I knew Haig, and I saw none of this kind of behavior. It really is as though he had a split in his personality. But I was very young and I wonder if I just did not recognize the signs of the sociopath; but I was not THAT young and I was smart and I’ve met sociopaths and he did not, in my presence, ever exhibit behavior that I would say showed he was like that. But I believe what people say he did in other circumstances; there is too much corroboration here and, like I said, I will not be a part of the denial of victims’ testimony, because that would be to victimize these poor people all over again.

Some of this reminds me of the case of Ike Turner, though he was more blatant and public in his actions. He abused Tina and many others, he clearly intimidated her and others into having sex with him, and went to jail for various other crimes. When he got out, the blues press felt that, in order to praise his music and to accept his very important place in popular music history, they had to deny his actions or question the testimony of his victims, most particularly Tina Turner. I found this repulsive and disgusting, so I will NOT do the same thing now.

You never saw any sign of this? How did you come to know Haig,?

I used to spend a lot of time in NY jazz clubs; this was in the middle 1970s. There was a place on the East Side (maybe 63rd Street and First Avenue) called Gregory’s, where I first saw Lee Konitz (who was in a trio with Dick Katz and Wilbur Little). One night I was walking by the place and saw a sign that said Al Haig would be appearing. I thought, wow, I know who he is, but, really, who is he? Is he really still around, is he really still playing? I knew his name from all of those Charlie Parker records, you know, and I had heard him play but not really, as those records were, for me, all about Bird’s playing, particularly the radio broadcasts that I started listening to when I was about 14 (I was now 21 or so; I was born in 1954). So I went to see Haig, who was working with Chuck Wayne on guitar and Jamil Nasser on bass. And it was fascinating.

Fascinating?

Yes – he was a marvelously inconsistent piano player at this stage of his life. First of all, on the positive side, he had this completely individual touch and sound – crystal clear, harmonically perfect, with real taste, you might say, if that term was not so redolent of blandness and artistic safeness. I was instantly transported to another era, but not with any sense of false nostalgia. This was just something that I had never heard in person. I knew the music very well from records, and I had listened to people like Barry Harris and Junior Mance and Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan at clubs and concerts. And though I will say that, as pure jazz players, they were probably playing better than Haig was at that point in his life, he had something which was completely individual and deep, a harmonic reach that was at once evocative of both jazz and classical music. One night at Gregopry’s between sets he improvised something, just warming up, that had a strange (to me) sound to it, that sat in some in-between musical place. Chuck Wayne (with whim he later had a falling out over, of all things, chord changes, and who than left the group) smiled and said, “Al, that could have been written by Handel.” Haig was clearly both pleased and flattered by the compliment. And he was playing all of this on a mediocre upright piano, but it didn’t matter because his sound was his strength and his signature. A few years later I heard him at the club One Fifth, on Fifth Avenue and 8th street, on a beautifully maintained 9 foot Steinway, and that was an incredible experience. He told me the gig didn’t pay enough, but he did it because the piano was so good. And this part of him – the touch and sound – does not come across in any real way on his recordings. There is no way it can be replicated in another domain. One had to be sitting next to or under the piano to understand how original he was, how perfect his basic technique, which is, after all, a function of sound and style and not, necessarily, of speed and execution.

How was he inconsistent?

By this time Al had lost what I would call his formerly great sense of “line,” which is the word I would use to describe the melody that a jazz player improvises – it’s a line of notes, of melody, a new musical construct over whatever chord changes he is playing. Haig would periodically lose continuity, would have to stop and re-direct himself melodically. He also often repeated certain phrases, as though struggling for ideas or passing the time until the next phrase occurred to him. There were, I think, two things going on: one, I think the loss of continuity was a post-alcoholic condition – the syndrome of the person who may no longer be drinking but who has suffered some kind of brain damage from that drinking (I should ask a neurologist about his). I have heard this problem with other players as well. I heard it regularly in those days with the pianist Joe Albany – he was another old friend and used to tell me about all the things he took in his junker years, like horse tranquilizer – and in the playing of another pianist who shall remain nameless but with whom I used to work when I lived in Connecticut. These were all musicians who were no longer juicing but who were unable to attain the musical connectivity of their pre-drunken days (and in the case of the pianist in Conneciutcut, his drinking days). Even though Haig apparently stopped imbibing in the early 1960s, I have a feeling that with certain people this problem does not repair itself, that dead brain cells just do not regenerate. This problem is apparent even on some relatively early Al Haig recordings – there is one he made with Phil Woods for Prestige in the 1950s and another he made with Chet Baker for Riverside (in 1959?). On these he will play a phrase and just stop, pause, and go on – the problem is subtle but sad and troubling (Joe Albany had it much worse than Haig – Joe used to get lost entirely and not realize he was lost. And it was nothing new for him - listen to the CD he made with Warn Marsh in 1957 at the restaurant Donte’s in California. He is regulatlry lost in the music, confused and struggling to get back to the right part of the tune).

What is two?

Two is that Haig was conscious of changes in the sound and approach of later jazz improvisers, and he wanted to be contemporary. So he was trying hard to get at some kind of modality in his own playing, to work with a “modal” or scalar approach. He particularly liked the pianist Cedar Walton, and he would play tunes like “Milestones.” But like many players of his generation Haig really did not understand this method of playing and could not get “inside” of those scales in a way that truly explored the possibilities of this kind of blowing. I have heard this same problem with a few other older beboppers who played into the post-bop era.

Like who?

Oh, like Art Pepper, Frank Morgan, Walter Bishop, even Jackie McLean at times. I made a recording with Doc Cheatham (a real pre-bopper) and he played some very nice things on a scale, but he really, like all the above-named, could not get inside of it.

But those are all legendary musicians –

Yes, and they are all brilliant and ingenious improvisers; but the struggle to be “contemporary” sometimes leads people astray. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but sometimes you have to stick with what you know and can truly hear in your own head.

Tell us more about your developing friendship

Well, he saw that I was coming to hear him a lot at Gregory's. One night I was very hungry, and food at Gregory’s was crazy expensive. So I went to a deli down the street and ordered a cheese sandwich and snuck it in to the club. I was sitting at a table by myself, drinking a coke and taking what I thought were surreptitious bites of that cheese sandwich while Haig was playing (and his back was almost to me). So in the middle of a bass solo he says, a little too loudly, “hey, can I get a bite of that cheese sandwich?” I was both highly embarrassed and very amused.

Did they take the sandwich away?

No one else seemed to hear him or notice that I was chomping away.

Was this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Sort of. At other times I would go into Gregory’s and, to avoid the minimum (which was probably something like $5 at a table) – I would stand near the bar, get a beer and try to drink it over a two-hour period. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it did not, though I soon became friendly with one of the waitresses, and she took pity on me, got me a beer at the beginning of the night, and left me alone. All I had to do, than, was avoid eye contact with the bartender. If I failed I usually had to order another drink. I didn’t want to get this nice waitress in trouble. But she liked Al and she liked me and saw I was primarily interested not in drinking but in listening to the music.

What was her name?

Jane, I think; she lived way downtown, near Delaney Street, I think it was. I used to drive her home some nights in my old Chevy (which eventually rusted out; I got rid of it when a welder who was working on the frame told me, “hit one good New York City pothole and you’ll be sitting in the middle of the street”). Some people thought we were going home "together" but we weren't. I was just driving her home to save her cab far, as she lived in a not-real-safe neighborhood. I used to drop her and take the bridge home, and it was a little scary. The hookers downtown were very aggressive, they used to stand in the middle of Delancey and try to force drivers to stop. I soon figured out that they would get out of the way if they were convinced I was not going to hit the brakes. NYC in those pre-mass-gentrification days was very scary at that time of night (between 2-4 am), so I was determined not to stop. As a matter of fact I often went through red lights so as not be a target, a little white boy sitting there waiting for the light to change. But these hookers were very aggressive, and I used to try to figure out if they were male or female as I passed them; they dressed as females but it was clear that many of them did not necessarily have the genitalia to match. Anyway, we digress –

Yes we do. Tell us more about you and Haig and Gregory’s

I would usually stand by the main door which led right into the bar, which was right next to the piano. It was a very small place. There was a problem with that door, as it tended to not close completely. It was wintertime when I first came to hear Haig, and he complained about the cold air that streamed in continually. So I stood by the door and jammed it shut after every patron entered. He and Jane were both appreciative (as initially she had to go over and push it closed). This accomplished two things: it made me seem useful and so the bartender bothered me less, so Jane seemed less like she was suborning a violation of the house rules that all attendees much drink as much as possible; and Haig seemed to appreciate that I was sensitive to what appeared to me to be his harmless exhibition of temperament.After all, if his hands were cold this was a reasonable complaint. So we talked a bit and he asked me about myself; when I first met Haig I was living in Stratford, Connecticut and than later in New Haven (eventually I moved to Queens) and he immediately asked me if Mel Powell, the great pianist and composer who had worked with Benny Goodman and than later attended and taught at Yale, was still up there. I didn’t know (it turned out that Powell was teaching in California). I remember Haig told me that he had a son in Connecticut somewhere, and that he (Al Haig, I mean) had worked, at one time, at the Stratford Motor Inn (and this was obviously not a happy memory; I think he had worked as a night desk clerk). So little by little we became friends, and I used to go out with him between sets to the coffee ship down the street where he would phone Joanne Thompson, who he described initially as “my lawyer’s wife,” and who later became Joanne Haig. At the time I was trying to write a book on jazz and was submitting articles to places like Downbeat (which they always turned down). I asked Haig one night if I could interview him. We talked and I wrote something up, which was rejected by a few publications; I showed it to him and he was impressed. He told me he hadn’t realized I was a “real” writer. He even invited me over to his place on 79th Street (this was somewhat later, after he married Joanne).

Nice place?

Yes, good neighborhood, East End Avenue and 79th Street, as I recall. In the meantime, through the saxophonist Dave Schildkraut I had become friends with the pianist Bill Triglia. When I told Triglia I had been to Haig's place he said “what? I’ve known him for 30 years and he never invited me over!” He was both insulted and surprised. But that was Haig – one night I met Duke Jordan and mentioned that I knew Haig. Jordan (another of Bird's early pianists) said he had run into Haig after not seeing him for some 20 years or so, “and you know what he did? He gave me what I call ‘a policeman’s handshake.’ That’s when they shake your hand but keep their distance, don’t want you to get too close.” He was obviously very offended, but that, as I had learned, was just the way Haig was. Joe Albany told me a similar story: “I went to hear Al Haig; I haven’t seem him in maybe 30 years. I walked past him while he was playing, he looked up and said ‘hi Joe’ and than went back to playing. And that was it.”

Strange guy.

Well, yes and no. Both of those guys, because of their personal histories, may have been people he wanted to avoid. Now, I feel naive and stupid to say this but I liked him a lot and he was always very nice to me, solicitous and perfectly consistent and easy to deal with. He never acted in any of the variously anti-social ways or otherwise odd manner with which he is described in the book.

And he got re-married?

Yes, and, of course, that became the butt of jokes in certain places – Bill Evans’ wife told me that Evans went over to see Miles Davis around this time, and Miles said something like “Did you hear Al Haig got married again? I hope he doesn’t kill that broad too.” Of course Miles, who was fond of beating up women, knew the territory. I liked Joanne very much, and in all of this, I feel worst for her. I last talked to her maybe 12 or 15 years ago. Jamil Nasser told me where she was and gave me her phone number. She had gotten re-married and moved to Canada and had a child. She had been very happy with Al Haig and now she was happy after Al Haig, in her new marriage and with her new baby. A few people in the book speak somewhat contemptuously of her, say that she was deluded and naive for loving and marrying Haig – and many of these people are people who loved (and in some cases married or RETURNED, post-divorce and post-abuse, to) Al Haig. Joanne was a very nice lady, and I am sorry I’ve lost touch with her and I hope she never finds out about this book and never reads about it or gets a phone call asking her what she thinks about it. If I could find her number I might call her to warn her about the whole thing, but I’m not sure whether a preemptive warning would be helpful or hurtful. Hopefully she will live her life and never hear anything about this. With things like the internet, however, I worry that her isolation from this potential tempest may be short-lived. What is in her favor is that none of Al’s old friends that I’ve contacted seem to know how to reach her. I now have the feeling, from reading the book, that she had minimal contact with Al’s older acquaintances; this was probably intentional on his part, and not necessarily for evil reasons but because he knew that first impressions may last, but that second, third, and fourth impressions last even longer, and that he would forever, in the minds of his old friends, be the guy who hated women and drank too much and mooched off of and used his friends and who ended up behind bars after being handcuffed and arrested for murder at the funeral of the wife for whose murder he was being arrested. Such images tend to stick.

Do you worry about guilt by association?

A little bit. I have a short piece in the Haig book that I wrote when Chris Mahne contacted me some 15 years ago or so when she was starting to work on it. At the time all she said to me was that she was convinced Haig was innocent of the murder, so I happily reiterated, in writing, my idyllic friendship with this bebop legend. Now my little piece sits in the middle of this large and complex work and my words, for all their sincerity, sound a bit naive, like some old college drinking buddy of OJ Simpson’s saying that what he best remembers and what is most important about good old OJ is that he would always pick up the tab. An indicator of sorts, but it does not exactly address the larger and more specific issues at hand. Not to mention that in the past I’ve told people like my 13 year old daughter about Haig with a pride of friendship, and that I’ve worn this friendship like a badge of honor all these years and instead it now feels like a scarlet letter. Most difficult of all is the fact that I still remember Al fondly as an important relationship in my life. What do I do now? I feel as though I must mark every personal reference to him with a disclaimer, “sorry, didn’t know he raped someone and beat someone and lied and used a lot of people and apparently also ruined more than a few lives, but jeez, he sure played nice and he was very nice to me.” It makes me think a little bit of the Beach Boys’ mother. When Mrs. Wilson was asked about the group’s association with Charles Manson (with whom Dennis Wilson hung out for a time), she told her interviewer, “Charlie had such a nice smile.” Actually, Al had a nice smile, too, so that just might be the ticket -

Edited by Jim Alfredson

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Thanks, Allen.

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Thanks for sharing that with us, Allen. It must have been painful to write, but I hope you came out of writing it with more understanding and peace of mind than you had before you wrote it.

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Thanks for sharing that with us, Allen. It must have been painful to write, but I hope you came out of writing it with more understanding and peace of mind than you had before you wrote it.

I agree. Very moving. Don't be too hard on yourself, Allen. People are very skilled at hiding parts of their lives from others. You were young and you're not a psychologist (though you have some very good insights into human behavior - we really are complex beings). You're not responsible for whatever reprehensible actions he undertook. You weren't supporting that part of his life. Everyone needs a friend you were the friend and support Haig needed at that time. Nothing wrong with that.

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Allen. . . thanks so much for posting that.

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whoa!! thank you so much for sharing, allen. absolutely fascinating to read your piece, on so many levels! i have the book but haven't read it yet.

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thanks, everyone - still processing all of this and trying to read the whole book, which is a chore for reasons, of course, having nothing to do with any quality issues. I'm glad it came out, as I've always been a great believer in reality, no matter how difficult. As I mentioned to Paul in an email, I also happen to be working (slowly) on a new book which I am writing in a self-interview format, so this was somewhat convenient -

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Thanks Allen.

I've run into a musician, Micheal Sweeny, who said Al Haig was at Michigan State in the 1970's -- probably just to play? Don't think he ever lived in Michigan....

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Very interesting, thanks for posting, Allen! :)

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the Michigan thing is very possible - he was a wanderer in those years (though it may be likely that any Michigan residence was in the early 1970s) - I also heard from a friend of mine who lives on Cape Cod, that there was a strange guy who lived down the road from her, who was quiet and somewhat catatonic and un-social and who, as it tiurned out, was one of Haig's sons - I don't know much more than that -

Edited by AllenLowe

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Beautiful, soulful post, Allen. The self-interview format suits you very well.

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thanks, Larry - I've been looking for a format recently and this one may just work -

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Great self-interview, Allan. I agree with what John Tapscott said--you have nothing to feel stupid about, let alone disgusted or guilty. You reacted to the man who was in front of you, not his past, which you didn't know about, or bad things he may have been doing offstage. I also believe that people's crimes do not cancel out their good parts.

Take to heart a French saying, la sympathie ne se justifie pas, elle se constate--the sympathy, or liking, that you feel for someone, is not something to be justified; it is only something that happens and that you recognize.

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Just want to add my own thanks to Allan for writing the interview, amazing stuff.

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Take to heart a French saying, la sympathie ne se justifie pas, elle se constate--the sympathy, or liking, that you feel for someone, is not something to be justified; it is only something that happens and that you recognize.

Those French, they seem to have a saying for everything. In fact, there's probably a saying about how they have a saying about everything. :P

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Great thread!

Thanks, Allen (and Jazzolog)

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Wow. Allen, thanks so much for posting the self-interview, fascinating and heart-wrenching in equal degrees.

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Amazing post, Allen, and add my thanks to the chorus of previous ones. Just yesterday I was rereading Art Pepper's STRAIGHT LIFE & finding myself a bit uncomfortable with some of the things AP says there about certain women in his life... at the same time I found myself pulling out some of his recordings to listen to as well. The old conundrum, I guess, about great art and the not-so-great personal failings of those who make it (and your post has once again sparked my interest in seeking out more of Haig's music).

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