ghost of miles

Athletes who were/are jazz fans

34 posts in this topic

At this past January's Jazz Congress in NYC the keynote speaker was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose passion for jazz is well-known.  Baseball player Bernie Williams and basketball player Wayman Tisdale are fan-musicians who've even recorded albums. What other athletes, past and present, have had a love for the music?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sugar Ray Robinson

Archie Moore (who played bass)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a BN record from the personal collection of Drew Bundini Brown, former trainer of Muhamed Alì.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Close enough for entertainment!  I don't think young Wilt stopped "a-rovin'," however.  This was the b-side, I take it?

 

 

Edited by ghost of miles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This 2001 article seems to offer confirmation of my remembrance that Don Newcome, in addition to inspiring a nickname and album title for Sonny Rollins, was also a jazz enthusiast.  I'd never before come across the story of how Sonny picked up the Newk moniker:

Swinging For The Fences

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

This 2001 article seems to offer confirmation of my remembrance that Don Newcome, in addition to inspiring a nickname and album title for Sonny Rollins, was also a jazz enthusiast.  I'd never before come across the story of how Sonny picked up the Newk moniker:

Swinging For The Fences

Never knew where "Newk" came from either...

  • Rollins was nicknamed Newk because when he and Miles Davis were taking a cab to Ebbets field in the early ’50s the cabbie thought he was Newcombe. Davis started calling him Newk from then on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

60-227Bk.jpg

1961-Topps-Baseball-Card-18-Mudcat-Grant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't consider chess players athletes, but GM Levon Aronian seems to be a major jazz fan.

There's a lengthy interview at this Russian site but I'll quote:

- Comparing your chess style with jazz, who would you be? I guess Magnus Carlsen is somewhat like Thelonius Monk – simple but yet very complex! (CiT)

I’ll respond using too many words, but please bear in mind the mitigating circumstance that I’ve got a maniacal affection for jazz.

Given that Thelonius had fame and recognition only among his colleagues, while the critics had difficulty understanding his ideas, he’s probably better reflected in the chess world by Michael Adams, while Magnus himself is more likely Tony Williams – a prodigy and trendsetter.

It’s a difficult task for me to compare myself to anyone. My natural modesty means it’s hard for me to name Joe Henderson or Booker Little. So as not to disappoint you, I’ll give a short list of other comparisons. Let’s start with one close to my heart. Vassily Ivanchuk, in my opinion, is Ornette Coleman – that same universality and great influence on other players. Bent Larsen is somehow similar to Roland Kirk. A great melodist (positional player), whose play was extravagant. Vasily Smyslov could very well be represented by Grant Green.  A harmonious manner of play and wonderful technique. I associate Tigran Petrosian with Warne Marsh. A unique style of play which, it seemed, was too calm and dull, while in reality it was deep and cunning.

- Have you ever played a game as smooth as Kind of Blue? (CiT)

To be honest, I’ve never particularly liked “Kind of Blue”. Due to the fact that I heard it for the first time only after listening to many of the great albums of a later period it didn’t make the proper impression on me. Of course I do, however, recognise its enormous significance for the following era. So let’s designate the “perfectly smooth” album as “The Next Step” by Kurt Rosenwinkel smiley 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Olympic gold medallist and middle distance runner Seb Coe was a regular at Ronnie Scotts and with membership there back in the day, I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Never knew where "Newk" came from either...

  • Rollins was nicknamed Newk because when he and Miles Davis were taking a cab to Ebbets field in the early ’50s the cabbie thought he was Newcombe. Davis started calling him Newk from then on.

Don't blame the cabbie. I saw Jimmy Smith in a club and  shortly after I said to my wife "Holy shit, Sonny Rollins is here", Smith introduced a celebrity in the audience, Don Newcombe. 

Given another thread here I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Jack Johnson. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, JSngry said:

60-227Bk.jpg

1961-Topps-Baseball-Card-18-Mudcat-Grant

These are great!  I love the aggrieved teammate in the first one and the beret and squiggly notes for his "progressive jazz" taste in the second one.  Was Jim digging some George Russell/David Baker sides?!

Edited by ghost of miles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, duaneiac said:

the-swinging-pitcher-a-look-at-denny-mcl

I remember buying DM's baseball card, and it said he was a jazz organist. I wonder who the guitarist was? Probably that guy from Motown. DM, well he can play a mean chromatic scale...Marty Kallao on guitar.

 

Edited by sgcim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

151514-10310273Bk.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know Carmen Fanzone (ex Chicago Cub) has been discussed on this forum. Jazz trumpeter, one could assume he was a fan.

Former NBA player Wayman Tisdale was a smooth jazz bassist.

Edited by T.D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

67170-62Bk.jpg

1-d6393918-11012715-575.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Edit: I see TD already mentioned Carmen Fanzone, a utility infielder who played maybe four or five seasons in the early '70s for the Cubs and Red Sox. Not only is he a jazz trumpet player eh's married to the singer Sue Raney. Flugelhorn solo at 3:30 mark. (I met both Carmen and Sue in Detroit four or five years ago -- nice people.)

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently Willie Mays was an Ella Fitzgerald fan (or vice versa)

08648ca8f381c899b8ea675b762f99c8--willie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob Gibson

https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/10/05/year-of-the-pitcher-book-excerpt-bob-gibson-world-series

"Gibson sat off to the side—drinking, not spilling, champagne. The night before, he’d gone to hear Les McCann play jazz piano. Now McCann entered the locker room, his fist raised, yelling, “Black Power!” Gibson had little use for such sentiments—his power was his, and his alone—but he’d showed them what Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays and scores of Negro players could have accomplished had they teamed up with Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While he was not an athlete, a couple of times I saw sports broadcaster and National Baseball Hall of Fame member Bill King (voice of the A's/Raiders/Warriors) among the audience at shows at Yoshi's in Oakland.  He was easy to spot:

billking.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, duaneiac said:

While he was not an athlete, a couple of times I saw sports broadcaster and National Baseball Hall of Fame member Bill King (voice of the A's/Raiders/Warriors) among the audience at shows at Yoshi's in Oakland.  He was easy to spot:

billking.jpg

Wow, did Burt Reynolds pay in advance to get that face once it was no longer attached to its original owner?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A band I was in on Lawnguyland used to play at the North Hills Country Club, where Whitey Ford was at a lot of the gigs, completely bombed out of his mind. I explained to him how I used to model my wind up and cross armed pitching style after him, and he just kinda looked at me with a glazed look in his eyes...:wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/19/2018 at 11:33 AM, Rooster_Ties said:

Never knew where "Newk" came from either...

  • Rollins was nicknamed Newk because when he and Miles Davis were taking a cab to Ebbets field in the early ’50s the cabbie thought he was Newcombe. Davis started calling him Newk from then on.

So I had a really unique opportunity to follow up on this anecdote last week.  My friend John McCluskey, who I've helped record telephone,interviews recently with both Sonny Rollins and Ahmad Jamal, took me out to lunch last Thursday by way of saying thanks.  (He showed me a mind-blowing postcard for Boston's Jazz Workshop circa early 1964 that I'll have to post elsewhere here on the forum--John was a student at Harvard in the early 60s and saw lots of great jazz acts there.)  I mentioned the Newk-Rollins cab story to him, and he said, "Oh, I'm talking to Sonny again tonight... I'll ask him about that!"  Next day he sent me an email that Sonny had confirmed the veracity of the story, adding that he and Miles let the cabbie go on believing that he was indeed Don Newcombe for the duration of the cab ride.  Sonny also told John that he did meet Newcombe years later, in New Orleans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.