jazzolog

Death Of A Bebop Wife

45 posts in this topic

Thank you, Allen, that was extraordinary and I admire you for sharing it. I never knew any details, such as the ones you touch on, but I was assigned to do an interview with Haig for Stereo Review, a few years back. I spoke to him and recall it only as a an experience so negative that I backed out of the interview. Now I begin to see a picture that wasn't there for me back then, but I'm not sure that I want to read the book.

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Thanks guys!

It was also nice to hear Blue and Boogie again (on the Myspace page)!

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I'll see if I can contact the book's author to stop by and read Allen's self-interview. It might be well for us all to have a good talk with ourselves when involved in difficult material on something we care a great deal about. Celebrity personal life seems often to get screwy, but it's particularly disturbing in an artist whose output contains such breathtaking beauty as Al Haig's does.

I think I was more shocked with the biography of Stan Getz though. I believe the book was A Life In Jazz by Donald Maggin. I remember as a teenager seeing the infamous photo in DownBeat of Stan under arrest for trying to rob a drug store. It scared a lot of rebellion out of me I must say. But I thought Getz had cleaned up pretty much after that, but no... And then there was Frank Rosolino. And of course Bill Evans. I can't tell you how disturbing it has been for me to wade through such tragedies and still love the music as much as I do---including theirs. Thanks for the fabulous comments folks.

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I'll see if I can contact the book's author to stop by and read Allen's self-interview. It might be well for us all to have a good talk with ourselves when involved in difficult material on something we care a great deal about. Celebrity personal life seems often to get screwy, but it's particularly disturbing in an artist whose output contains such breathtaking beauty as Al Haig's does.

I think I was more shocked with the biography of Stan Getz though. I believe the book was A Life In Jazz by Donald Maggin. I remember as a teenager seeing the infamous photo in DownBeat of Stan under arrest for trying to rob a drug store. It scared a lot of rebellion out of me I must say. But I thought Getz had cleaned up pretty much after that, but no... And then there was Frank Rosolino. And of course Bill Evans. I can't tell you how disturbing it has been for me to wade through such tragedies and still love the music as much as I do---including theirs. Thanks for the fabulous comments folks.

Richard,

Somehow I feel I am intruding as I come in on a reply to your comments when all day long I have been trying to reach Allen Lowe; I registered this morning after I read his comments and, it took ten minutes, and then, gone with the wind was my letter. On another site I have written to Allen, through you Richard, and I hope that you will be able to put my words up. I am new to this but you are not.

I think, not only Allen, but his musical friends will want to read what I said. I felt his pain.

Thank you.

Grange Lady Haig Rutan

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hi Grange -

email me at alowe@maine.rr.com

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hi Grange -

email me at alowe@maine.rr.com

Allen,

I sent a letter to Jazzolog and he will be sending it to you I believe on this site. I am so drained thinking about your pain all day. I need to call it a day and wait for him to send you what I wrote. You are amazing.

Grange (Chris Mahne is my boy's name)

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Catching up on this thread, just wanted to express thanks for AllenLowe's insightful selfinterview.

Superb introspective post!

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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 -

Allen, Al Haig's Wife Donna is from Chatham, Massachusetts, and Daniel, Al's second son, still lives there and always has.

Brian lived there also until he committed suicide. Over the years, "Laddie" has visited his half sister but was always a guest at their home .

I interviewed over 400 luminaries of the jazz world, and others...MiCHIGAN was never part of the equation.

It was not until June of 1969 that Al wanted to speak with his children after he had been acquitted of the murder of his wife Bonnie to let them know his side of the story.

Grange

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

Dear Marcello,

I see you have the John Frolich picture of Al Haig. Nice to know that someone in Paris, France has the picture that hangs in my hall.

Grange Lady Haig Rutan

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Sorry to have spent so much time woodshedding (on a new Dell with the dreaded Windows Vista, not on my ax) yesterday, and left this exciting thread hanging. Vista almost tamed---if Norton will only calm down---and so, with Grange's permission, I'll post her reply to Allen. Both have OK'd circulating their posts elsewhere on the Net too, so don't be surprised if you find this exchange in Google~~~

From: alhaigbebop

To: jazzolog@peoplepc.com

Subject: Re: A Reply

Date: May 27, 2007 7:39 AM

Dear Richard,

Somehow I always find myself speaking to you or through you on this journey of sometimes finding "limbo" on the Internet without even trying.

I need you to listen to me and somehow get it to Allen Lowe.

When I couldn't sleep this morning, round about 4:30 a.m., by a miracle, I found organissimo.org/forum/index.php?showtopic and there was your review with me standing on the tarmac smiling for Al.

As I began to scan, I realized there were comments and then I saw Allen Lowe's name starting a sentence with of all words, "did not realize this was here already."

And he took my breath away.

I read his piece once, twice and a third time...and time stood still as I felt his pain. I read the comments of his musical friends and felt their caring for him. I knew I had to communicate so I registered, however, I had to wait ten minutes and what I wrote, once again, disappeared into the stratasphere of the Internet.

I'm still feeling for him and I want to communicate a few words.

Even stranger than that was my phone rang at 6:50ish and it was Bob Rusch; I told him what I had read and somehow he found what Allen Lowe said.

First of all, I want to give him answers so please don't edit me as I want my thoughts to be "crystal clear, harmonically perfect, with real taste" and hone in and answer some questions which might bring peace to all of us...while I am still in this mood. As I have never done drugs nor do I drink booze I have not lost what he calls "great sense of line."

If AL HAIG had lived, we would have celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary on June 4th, however, just two days ago, had he remained married to Donna, they would have been married 62 years. Unfortunately, Donna, still alive, is in a nursing home in Arizona with Alheimer's Disease. When she first arrived they thought she was crazy because every day she would begin to wheel back to her room saying, "I have to go make Al dinner as he is coming home late tonight from a gig with Stan Getz."

MAY 24th is Donna's birthday and she was married on her birthday to AL...and, in 1949, on Mary 24th, (Al is in Paris when Laddie (Al Jr.) was born...and her daughter, with Verne Cambell, was married on May 24th 31 years ago at the age of sixteen...she is very happily married.

So, are you still with me?

When Death of a Bebop Wife launched at The Hard Rock Hotel on April 16th, I called Robin to tell her that I needed to get in touch with Laddie and wanted to give him a book...to this day I worry about the little boy inside who was kidnapped by his dad.

She said she would tell him and that he was "fine."

While there I lost my cell phone and was worried I would be assigned a new number.

Laddie has never called me, since the launch, (over the years yes and cards when least expected) but stranger than fiction, the children of Red Rodney (Mark: who interviewed Laddie seven years ago on the radio at UNLV said he knew of me and my quest) and Stanley Getz's daughter Bev, and Steve have. Ironically the book began with Red's call on Thanksgiving and Stan's call on Christmas Day in 1989..or maybe it was 1990 and they were instrumental in the quest to document Al's place in bebop history.

They were strong and connected and let me know I better work long and hard. I listened.

I was too frightened to even admit my marriage and so my Son: Chris Mahne said I could use his name. I came out of the closet about 8 years into the project.

I remember, Allen, how exhuberent you were at the time I spoke with you and you were talking about your proposed book. Over the years I have only heard wonderful things about you.

You need to know how I even accomplished this book as I really am the wife no one knew. Everyone thinks Bonnie was wife number 2.

You worried about Joanne. Over the years she has known about the book and periodically a book store in Toronto has called to ask about the progress. When I was finished, I called her; heard her voice on the answering machine and left a message.

When Al died he never knew he inherited a million dollars from Dot Wells, but Joanne knew and thought that Al really only loved her. She connected with Donna and Donna signed off as she was happily married, however, she felt that Laddie and Daniel were his surviving children (Brian had committed suicide) and deserved their father's legacy.

I belive the amount was over a million and soon after Joanne was on a vacation, and robbed (she sued the building but did not win) married Mr. K...and never looked back. How else was I able to talk with people all over the world who had known Joanne and Al? I think you are the only friend I gave Joanne's numer to. Everyone wondered what happened to her. Jamil gave me her number.

At some point in time I knew I had to let Joanne know that I was not Chris Mahne. I called her in Toronto and said, "Joanne, I have to tell you...I was once married to your husband."

After some heartbeats of silence she said, her first words:"Did he ever hit you?"

When you inherit a million dollars it somehow affects your thinking. I know, Allen, you feel for Joanne but I want you to know she never looked back. Consequently, when I called various friends they were glad to get a piece of Al and they became my friends...through the music.

I specifically say in my book I don't believe Al Haig murdered Bonnie but I do believe he killed her.

When I submitted my manuscript to Cadence there were a 1,000 pages, now whittled down to 500 plus. You need to know that the people close to Al all thought they were his best friend. As we speak Bertha Saunders, who Al asked to marry him when he was married to Joanne - and - when he was dying, drove down to Dot's house...as he was not at his home even thought the death certificate says so! and Bertha was the last face he saw - and, after he died, it was Bertha sitting on the same sofa with Joanne - is reading the book. So is Bev Getz, Mark Rodney, Valerie Bishop and Dexter Gordon's wife has heard of it - and a lot of other people.

Bob Rusch insisted I never say again I was the wife no one knew, but the naive and innocent girl from Montclair, New Jersey will be only too glad to tell you that what Al gave you was the best he had to give. And that smile...that walk and and and ...forgive yourself, you are a Giant.

Grange Lady Haig Rutan

www.ladyhaig.com

alhaigbebop@aol.com

www.myspace.com/ladyhaig

Warm Regards.

Grange Lady Haig Rutan

Author

Death of A Bebop Wife

www.GRANGELADYHAIGRUTAN.com

Edited by jazzolog

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thanks, Grange, though I think some of this is getting a bit more personal than should probably be aired on the internet - for me it's a little like rubbing a scab, though that may be just the way it has to be for a while - got your email and would like to talk to Joanne, as I've long ago lost her phone - will email you privately to see if I can get it - as for me, will bow out here. thanks for everyone's comments and support; feel free, anyone, to email me at alowe@maine.rr.com for anything related to this (or anything else) -

Edited by AllenLowe

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Has anyone else read this book since this thread was active?

The reviews, and Allen's wrestling with his memories made me put this on my Christmas list. It was tough sledding in some ways and I've only just finished the book today (specifically I found a significant portion of the recollections of various people who knew Haig to be not illuminating enough to merit inclusion - if the other 500 pages of the original transcript was more of the same, I'm not sure I'd have ever finished the book. There were also aspects of the recollections that wandered too far afield from the subject to be included.)

I do recommend it though because the writing is very good and the story is fascinating, and I'd like to say to Allen that as others have said, people reveal different aspects of themselves to different people. The fact that Haig didn't reveal his pathologies to you shouldn't make you feel bad about the relationship or your perception of Haig as a person. Even though the book made me detest Haig the man, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have fond memories of the time you spent with him.

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Thanks for the comment Dan. I know what you mean about tough sledding---for instance, through all the police investigation and interrogations. I don't know why Lady Haig put so much of that in, except perhaps to present as much objectivity as possible so you make up your own mind about Bonnie's death. Grange has her view of it, but even that is full of mixed emotion. Maybe she's conveying that. No question about Al's artistry though...and that's also a mystery. That is, how can a man with such anger inside produce music of aching beauty. His touch was magic. Surely we feel the same way about Stan Getz.

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See Now Reading, post #4281

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Read this thread only now ... the whole thing is very moving, I can feel a bit what Allen Lowe felt as I rather often did not know what to do when people I idolized in some way or another turned out to be very human in some respects. I find it hard to accept that beauty and creativity of the highest order often go along with less pleasant personality traits. Is that the human condition? Would there be jazz or any other true art without all the hardships?

I dunno .... but I wish there was.

Edited by mikeweil

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FWIW, I liked Joe Albany's daughter's book better.

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I agree, but Grange's book has its own charms.

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Since I've read it, I've heard of another musician besides HG that AH told he did the deed in question.

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the problem is that even if he did what he may have said he did, the whole event was two drunks fighting; not pre-meditated murder.

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Who wouldn't be a drunk if you were locked in a room and forced to read Mein Kampf. :eye:

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