I want to call attention to more of Larry French's fine additions to the Wellesnet main page.
Latest of these is his reception of an interview with Oja Kodar by Finnish Journalist KARI ELOVUOR, and news Ms. Elovuor has sent Larry about THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.
Just before that (or after it, depending on how you read it) is Larry's research on a real experience we had last Monday night. We had gone to see the Spanish movie VOLVER, and afterwards, of course, Todd Baesen wanted to retire to the Ha-Ra Club, but one of us pointed out the Fillmore spot, Rasselas, which was closer for our purposes. In we went, and Dennis, a supreme bartender, was on duty. He made us all happy, and Todd was soon sedated.
Monday night at Rasselas is often a kind of "open mike" evening for this beautifully set up jazz supper club, only now coming into its own. [Lord knows what the machinations of the SF 49's will do to the area.] As Larry describes it, a couple of extraordinary side men from a visiting theater orchestra (a tenor sax player and trumpeter from the traveling company of "Jersey Boys") arrived to jam with a group of others already in the place.
We had a fine time.
From that experience, we got back on to Orson Welles' work to bring African-American Jazz to a wider American audience, in the early 1940's. Larry, as he will, later searched out a site where we can hear a selection of the songs played by "The Mercury Jazz Combination," and introduced by Welles on his radio programs of that time.
Getting the numbers to open up at the LOUISiana Digital Library (I take it, an affectionate homage to Louis Armstrong) may be a little tricky, but they are there. [Baesen was razz-ma-tazzing on Larry French's Blackberry with a pair of ivory drum sticks he found, late in the evening -- which may explain the problem.] In any case, what Welles says on these selections about the co-option and commercialization of Jazz ideas would not be admitted openly by others for some ten years after those early 40's broadcasts.
[I had to leave Rasselas about Midnight, and there is a report that Baesen was seen at dawn, walking down Fillmore, his bare feet in Kleenex boxes. I don't know if that's true.]
Macresarf1 sends word that on his arrival in San Francisco, he remembers hearing Kid Ory, who took the essential Mercury Combo, from the strength of these shows, to the West Coast. Macresarf1 sat in the Club Hangover, one evening in 1959, and listened to Ory, Earl "Fatha" Hines, and Muggsy Spanier, among others -- all resplendent in evening dress -- playing their hearts out.
Please don't miss tapping into these bits of American Musical History, courtesy of our man, Orson Welles (and Mr. French).