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Mark Stryker

Jerry McKenzie v Jerry (Lestock) McKenzie

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Wait, there are actually two guys named Jerry McKenzie who played drums with Stan Kenton in back-to-back tenures: Jerry McKenzie from 1957-59 and Jerry (Lestock) McKenzie from 1959-61, plus another brief tenure in '72? Seriously?

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I thought they were the same guy?

I liked that second one, he was a True Believer who seemed to not have to compromise his "jazz esthetic" to play the Kenton bag. Kinda like Dee Barton with a wider skill set. What he does on the out chorus of "Malaguena" is pretty much the only way to do it. But very few have.

And I did see him in '72, the first time I saw Kenton. He was still bringing it like that. Oldish, skinny, and sweaty, working his ass off. Not just a True Believer, but dare I say it, a Road Rat as well.

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Posted (edited)

28 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I thought they were the same guy?

I liked that second one, he was a True Believer who seemed to not have to compromise his "jazz esthetic" to play the Kenton bag. Kinda like Dee Barton with a wider skill set. What he does on the out chorus of "Malaguena" is pretty much the only way to do it. But very few have.

And I did see him in '72, the first time I saw Kenton. He was still bringing it like that. Oldish, skinny, and sweaty, working his ass off. Not just a True Believer, but dare I say it, a Road Rat as well.

I thought they were the same guy too until, um, this morning, when I was doing some legwork and began seeing references to two different guys. The second Jerry McKenzie is a longtime Detroit cat -- not so much a Road Rat, as he gave up the grind for family and stability, except for falling off the wagon and going back out for that second tenure with Kenton. I've heard him many times but actually only talked to him on one occasion that I can remember. But now I have to call him and figure out the puzzle. 

Edited by Mark Stryker

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5 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

 -- not so much a Road Rat, as he gave up the grind for family and stability, except for falling off the wagon and going back out...

Dude, that is an EXEMPLARY Road Rat. The road used to be like the Foreign Legion, if you wanted to get away and be where nobody knows/cares who you are, there laid the road, always room for one more, no questions asked.

Especially if you were strictly a section player. Oh my, the potential for anonymity for those gigs was IMMENSE.

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Posted (edited)

11 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Dude, that is an EXEMPLARY Road Rat. The road used to be like the Foreign Legion, if you wanted to get away and be where nobody knows/cares who you are, there laid the road, always room for one more, no questions asked.

Especially if you were strictly a section player. Oh my, the potential for anonymity for those gigs was IMMENSE.

But wouldn't a true Road Rat have stayed on the bus more or less forever, rather than departing for domestic life? Or am I missing some nuance to the definition? McKenzie (the 2nd, apparently) jumped off  the bus in '62 for a decade, jumped back on for a minute 10 years later, before realizing that he preferred sleeping in the same bed every night rather than sleeping in the same bus seat.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I don't know that it's a curable condition. It's more about the instinct. If a dude's reaction to "trouble" is to get out and get away, that's Road Rat. If/when he (or she) comes to their senses, then they're in recovery unless/until the next time. After you reach a certain age, the literal road is less an option, but the need to escape isn't. Just look around...

Moot point though, really, as the support system for that type of behavior is all but gone. Even cruise ship gigs are locked up and mind-fuck controlled.

 

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