Captain Howdy

Abusive and violent jazz musicians

43 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, sgcim said:

Buddy went way beyond verbal abuse. A close friend of mine, Joe Dixon, was BR's roommate when they were both on the road with Tommy Dorsey. They had some type of argument about something, and Buddy knocked Joe out with one punch.

Mention of Tommy Dorsey brought to mind this old bit I think I heard on one of the AFRS "Jubilee" shows when the Dorsey Brothers were guests:

MC:  Which one of you learned to swing first?

JD:  Tommy, but I learned to duck!

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15 hours ago, Peter Friedman said:

Also Bud Powell being beat on the head by the police.

If we include violence on jazz musicians, there's also Anita O'Day's description of being raped (in her memoir High Times Hard Times, p. 172).  You can read the description in Google Books.

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16 hours ago, sgcim said:

Buddy went way beyond verbal abuse. A close friend of mine, Joe Dixon, was BR's roommate when they were both on the road with Tommy Dorsey. They had some type of argument about something, and Buddy knocked Joe out with one punch.

Max Roach came down to Ornette's debut club appearance in NY in 1959, and after hearing him play, went back stage, and knocked him out with one punch. Then he was waiting at the place where Ornette was staying, and beat the crap out of him again!

One member of Jaki Byard's Apollo Stompers was notorious for going psycho when he drank too much.I did a gig with him where he was bugged because this very annoying trumpet player kept laying out on the ensemble parts on this one chart, because he wanted to save his chops for his solo. He kept telling the trumpet player, "Quit laying out!", but the guy kept doing it. Finally he had enough, and picked the guy up, and flung him across the room, right into the wall. I watched the audiences heads follow the trumpet player's trajectory!

The same guy who threw the trumpet player was on the road with the Lee Castle Band, and because he didn't own a car, he had to get a ride with a friend of mine, who also has a very short temper. Somewhere on the NE Turnpike, they got into an argument about trumpet playing, and they started socking each other back and forth, as they were stuck in a traffic jam.. Finally, my friend managed to open the door of the car, and literally kicked the guy out of the car, and left him on the Turnpike.

Finally, my friend with a short temper got into a fight with Jerry Weiss, the trumpet player from BS&T's original band, right on the stand. My friend kicked the shit out of him, and they had to carry Weiss off the stand. Weiss, a diagnosed schizophrenic, came back to the same gig the next week, and had no recollection of the event!

Larry has mentioned that jazz musicians remind him of pro athletes, and I tend to agree with him.

 

Wow.

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16 hours ago, sgcim said:

Max Roach came down to Ornette's debut club appearance in NY in 1959, and after hearing him play, went back stage, and knocked him out with one punch. Then he was waiting at the place where Ornette was staying, and beat the crap out of him again!

Honestly, I find this a little hard to believe.  I think I've heard stories about the first incident (which I'm not sure I ever believed, which I realize doesn't mean it wasn't true).  But then Max went and beat him up again back at his hotel?  That sounds like pure apocryphal nonsense.

I realize there isn't going to be "documentation" in the classic sense, but is there any truth to any of this with Max and Ornette?

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I'm not buying that story about Max attacking Ornette.

Last night, we were listening again to Pharaoh's "Message From Home". At one point, he barked out a low C (concert Bb) very harshly. I said to my friend "Don't do that in Tommy Dorsey's band.".

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Younger men tend to be more violent than other demographic groups.  And my guess is this is amplified by economic insecurity.  So it's not surprising that there are so many stories (not all true, but...)

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2 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Honestly, I find this a little hard to believe.  I think I've heard stories about the first incident (which I'm not sure I ever believed, which I realize doesn't mean it wasn't true).  But then Max went and beat him up again back at his hotel?  That sounds like pure apocryphal nonsense.

I realize there isn't going to be "documentation" in the classic sense, but is there any truth to any of this with Max and Ornette?

I read about it in the book that was written about Ornette's first gig in NY  I think it was called "1959: Ornette Coleman In New York" or something like that.

One thing I noticed after I wrote about some of these violent episodes with jazz musicians; they all involved drummers or trumpet players doing the aggressive acts. Clifford T. even mentioned an incident with Richard Williams.

I think that ties in with Larry's impression of some musicians as being similar to pro athletes. The trumpet and the drum set are the most physical instruments to play, and according to the multi-instrumentalist, Bob Bruno, there is no more volatile personality than the lead trumpet player in a Latin big band.

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Ever heard of Lin Biviano?

otoh, Maynard Ferguson, supposed just a totally chill guy, naturally and/or with assistance.

 

Maynard was of Canadian extraction, btw.

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4 hours ago, sgcim said:

One thing I noticed after I wrote about some of these violent episodes with jazz musicians; they all involved drummers or trumpet players doing the aggressive acts. Clifford T. even mentioned an incident with Richard Williams.

You might be onto something, but what about Mingus?

Quote

The trumpet and the drum set are the most physical instruments to play

The honkers, shouters, and bar walkers might say otherwise.

big_jay3.jpg

Edited by Captain Howdy

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My perception is that the sax guys are very competitive and that cutting contests can sometimes escalate. 

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Gotta watch out for those fiddlers...

athompson-machine-gun-in-a-violin-case-i

 

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5 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

You might be onto something, but what about Mingus?

The honkers, shouters, and bar walkers might say otherwise.

big_jay3.jpg

When you have a Hellview in Bellvue, it doesn't matter what you play.

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On 17.5.2019 at 2:22 PM, gvopedz said:

If we include violence on jazz musicians, there's also Anita O'Day's description of being raped (in her memoir High Times Hard Times, p. 172). 

I've read the same was told by trombonist Melba Liston.

Stories like these killed my naive belief jazz musicians might be better humans.

Edited by mikeweil

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1 hour ago, mikeweil said:

I've read the same was told by trombonist Melba Liston.

Stories like these killed my naive belief jazz musicians might be better humans.

Sometimes we want to ascribe better qualities to those we admire for their professional gifts, be they musicians, actors or sports stars.  

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Plumbers. I’ve known some good and some bad ones!

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