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Joe

Unexpected Musician Sightings

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Tony Williams on

public-album-thumb-400x400-3044.jpg

Public Image Limited's ALBUM / CASSETTE / COMPACT DISC. Yes, a Bill Laswell production, but Tony does not play with anything like a "jazz inflection" here. Rather, its almost as if he's playing a theatrical role, "heavy metal drummer," complete with transformative prosthetic makeup. I.e., this is not quite like Wayne Shorter dropping in to play a sax solo on a Steely Dan record ("Aja").

Edited by Joe

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If you literally mean "sightings", mine would be Yusef Lateef carrying his saxophone case in Leicester Square, London in the late 1960s.

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If you literally mean "sightings", mine would be Yusef Lateef carrying his saxophone case in Leicester Square, London in the late 1960s.

I saw Bonnie Raitt strolling through the streets of Melbourne late at night a few years ago with some of her band. Damn sexy woman she was too. And she was no spring chicken at the time either.

But I guess the OP means strange sightings like the fact that Ornette Coleman supposedly guested on a French folk singers album. I can't find any more information though.

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It's fairly normal for jazz musicians to appear on pop, R&B and blues recordings but rarely do they appear on gospel albums, especially if they aren't Christians. I know of two, one of which wasn't really surprising.

The unsurprising one was the whole Dizzy Gillespie quintet providing the backing for Katie Bell Nubin's album 'Soul soul searching'. First, that was on Verve; second, K B Nubin was Sister Rosetta Tharpe's mother and obviously very connected to showbiz.

The surprising one was the appearance of Melvin Hassan (aka Sparks) on Dorothy Norwood's 'Look what they've done to my child' on Savoy, which had, by that time, long ceased to be a jazz label.

I suppose a jazz record shop IS a place you'd expect to see jazz musicians. I'm sure lots of the people hanging at Dobells in London in the sixties were jazz musicians, though I didn't recognise them. But to meet Ben Webster there ('69 or '70, not sure exactly) was truly unexpected! I acted like a fan, of course, and he was gracious.

MG

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If you literally mean "sightings", mine would be Yusef Lateef carrying his saxophone case in Leicester Square, London in the late 1960s.

Once ran into Marchel Ivery loading groceries into his car in a Kroger parking lot.

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If you literally mean "sightings", mine would be Yusef Lateef carrying his saxophone case in Leicester Square, London in the late 1960s.

Once ran into Marchel Ivery loading groceries into his car in a Kroger parking lot.

Pete Fountain pumping gas into his very nice little sports car (don't remember the model) at a convenience store uptown in New Orleans around 1990.

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Pete Fountain, though I must have seen dozens of his LPs in the sixties, isn't a person I'd recognise if he bit me on the ankle, especially thirty years older. Well spotted!

MG

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If you literally mean "sightings", mine would be Yusef Lateef carrying his saxophone case in Leicester Square, London in the late 1960s.

Once ran into Marchel Ivery loading groceries into his car in a Kroger parking lot.

Pete Fountain pumping gas into his very nice little sports car (don't remember the model) at a convenience store uptown in New Orleans around 1990.

I was walking a few blocks to the Jazz Standard to see an Alvin Queen group featuring Melvin Sparks and wondered if the fellow walking in front of me with a guitar case was Melvin Sparks, and he was.

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Saw Joni Mitchell in a record store in Soho (NYC) many years ago, she bought "Miles Smiles."

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Saw John Abercrombie at a local supermarket. I approached him, and he was very shy and unassuming. He invited me to a concert he was playing that night in an Episcopal Church in my area. It was a great (and free) show. Others in the band were Andy LaVerne, Steve LaSpina and Tony Jefferson.

Saw Dave Douglas at a local pool a couple of years later. He wasn't shy at all, and actually was the one who approached me because I was sporting an RCA Bluebird t-shirt. He was signed to the label at that time. We discussed a load of musical topics including how he wished that John Zorn would keep acoustic Masada working on a more regular basis. I guess, at the time, Dave didn't realize that his career was about to blossom to the extent that it has.

Both of these guys, and many other jazz musicians, live in my area.

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Once saw Long Tall Dexter carrying his saxophone through LAX. Very stately looking. Saw Anthony Braxton on the streets of Paris once. Wanted to tell him how much I'd liked a solo performance of his in Toronto a few months before so I walked toward him. As I approached he waved his hands and said "Sorry I don't speak French." I was happy that I looked Parisian. Sat next to Annie Lennox and Elvis Costello at a restaurant in London. We ignored each other.

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Ran into Augie Meyers on the streets of Hoboken once. He was out walking before a Doug Sahm gig at Maxwell's.

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Saw Eddie Daniels & his wife having lunch at the same place I was with my wife last Thursday.

We had a nice conversation. All 4 of us.

Edited by jlhoots

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Saw Lyle Lovett in the breakfast buffet line at the Sheraton Universal in Hollywood. Believe me, when you see Lyle Lovett, there is no mistaking who it is.

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Saw Charlie Haden once at dinner with his son-in-law Jack Black.

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Saw Charlie Haden once at dinner with his son-in-law Jack Black.

I saw Charlie Haden in a local record store around 1980. Wasn't sure if it was he & checked with the owner after he left. It was Haden and he was complaining that the owner wasn't carrying enough of his records - even though there were several in the store.

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In 1969 I was waiting for a flight at Washington's (Reagan) National Airport, and I saw both Lani Hall, the lead singer of Brasil '66, and tennis great Jimmy Connors.

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Saw Eddie Daniels & his wife having lunch at the same place I was with my wife last Thursday.

We had a nice conversation. All 4 of us.

I'm trying to remember what Eddie's wife calls herself now. Something "new aged".

Flawless clarinetist.

Eddie, that is.

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Saw Charlie Haden once at dinner with his son-in-law Jack Black.

I saw Charlie Haden in a local record store around 1980. Wasn't sure if it was he & checked with the owner after he left. It was Haden and he was complaining that the owner wasn't carrying enough of his records - even though there were several in the store.

Sounds about right.......

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Not to derail the thread too much but I do like the actual sighting aspect of this though my best ones are not musician sightings......

Growing up in New York City and also working as a bicycle messenger put me in a position for many sightings (besides making deliveries to a few famous people like Itzhak Perlman (who was home and signed for his package) and Claudette Colbert (who wasn't home much to my chagrin).

I saw Ruth Gordon on the street as a teenager and approached her to ask for her autograph and she was very sweet and gave me a big smile and hello as if she was quite used to awestruck teenage boys approaching her (because of Harold and Maude of course).

I saw Lauren Bacall on the street (actually I heard her booming voice first as she shooed away an autograph seeker).

I saw Pedro Almodovar in Tower Records (the one in downtown NY). He did spend some time in the jazz section.

I saw Doug Flutie at a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike once and he is pretty short. I had nothing to say to him though....

I sat in business class with Mary Louise Parker right in front of me. She is very good looking in person. Actually there always seems to be some actor on every flight I take from New York to LA.

One time I had a red eye from LA back to New York and I rushed to the airport right from a gig or the studio and I barely had time to make the flight much less eat. I was worried all the shops in the terminal would be closed so when checking in, I tried to use my premium status and miles to upgrade to business class in the hopes of having a proper meal (I was really hungry and had a lot of extra miles). They told me since it was such a late flight that there would be no dinner, probably just a snack and later a nice breakfast so I decided not to go for it. When I boarded the plane, I saw there was one open seat in business class and sitting next to the open seat was Bill Russell. I've kicked myself a few times over that one......

I certainly met and worked with my fair share of stars or they have come to my gigs (Freddie Hubbard gigs in LA in particular) but I have to admit to only really gushing praise once and it would seem to be an unlikely one. I couldn't help myself with Jeffrey Tambor. He actually came up to me (at Birdland) and told me he had heard me play before and how he enjoyed it and I just told him how much I loved the Larry Sanders Show (I really do, it is one of my favorite shows ever). His demeanor changed right away. Could it be possible that he didn't like the show I thought. though it seemed more like he just wanted to be a regular guy who wanted to show his appreciation...oh well.....still loved him on the Larry Sanders Show.......

Oh, musicians.....

I did sit next to Robert Fripp at a John McLaughlin gig in Central Park. I asked him what he thought (I think I was 15 or 16) and he said "he's good".

Edited by david weiss

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Saw Peter Brotzmann in the (late) Mole Jazz record store in London sometime in the late 60s. He was delivering a box of albums, presumably from his FMR label. After he'd gone I asked to hear "Machine Gun" and bought it. Probably the only time I ever played more than a minute of it.

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Ate barbeque with Wayne Bennett @ Stubbs in Austin once.

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now THAT's a guitarist.

weirdest one was with Jack DeJohnette in the Tower records on lower broadway, maybe 15 years ago. He was acting really strange to begin with, and I said, "are you Jack DeJohnette?" and he glared at me like some crazy homeless guy on the subway (him, not me). The whole place was buzzing because he was acting so bizarrely.

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Saw Charlie Haden once at dinner with his son-in-law Jack Black.

I saw Charlie Haden in a local record store around 1980. Wasn't sure if it was he & checked with the owner after he left. It was Haden and he was complaining that the owner wasn't carrying enough of his records - even though there were several in the store.

Sounds about right.......

While I was at CalArts (2006-2008), I would occasionally see Haden and Wadada Leo Smith in the dining hall. Not unexpected per se, as both musicians teach at CalArts, but it was still a bit incongruous -- to me, anyway -- to have my first face-to-face brush with each musician involve cafeteria trays and plastic cutlery.

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I shared a table at the Caravan of Dreams with Prime Time (Ornette was around at the club but not sitting with us), watching Paquito D'Rivera. Denardo said they might sit in with Paquito, but it didn't happen.

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