[Dixielandjazz] RE: Friend of Brian Shanley/w/ corrections/final

Fishsave fishsave@pipeline.com
Mon, 26 Aug 2002 03:46:38 -0400

Bob: I am enclosing a corrected copy. Thanks for the kind words.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Romans [mailto:cellblk7@attbi.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2002 7:34 PM
To: Fishsave
Subject: Re: Friend of Brian Shanley

Thanks...I'll copy your post and give it to Brian's widow...she'll love
hearing/seeing your story!!
Thanks again,
Bob Romans
Cell Block 7
Jazz Band
1617 Lakeshore Dr.,
Lodi, California, 95242
WebPages..click below

>I met Brian in the early fall of 1950 on the baseball field at Washington &
>Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. All spring hopefuls were working out
>for a chance to play with the varsity the coming spring. Brian and I were
>teamed up together as we both were pitchers. I went first. Brian was not
>impressed. I got the catchers mitt and after a few warm up pitches he cut
>loose a left-handed fastball that hopped and then plowed into my mitt with
>thud. I tolerated one more and ran over to the bench to get some padding.
>Brian was an outstanding baseball prospect. Six foot four with a blazing
>   Sometime later that week I was chording "Up a Lazy River" on an old
>upright piano in the student union when Brian walked in with a fellow
student who
>look a little like Jerry Lewis and was distantly related who was holding a
trumpet in his hand, his name was Paul Maslansky. " We're starting a
Dixieland Jazz band, would you
>like to play piano?" " I don't know if I can, I can only really play the
>chords, can't play by ear." I said. " No problem," said Brian," Here are
>four Black's chord books green,yellow,red, and blue. Don't lose them and we
>will be fine," said Brian. "56 in the yellow" he said, which happen to be
>"Up a Lazy River". Paul put his horn to his lips and we played and replayed
>it until is sounded passable." No solos for you, just keep chording and
>throw those tenths in once a while," said Brian. "No problem from me," I
>said smiling all the way to my frat house. I was  creating my music, it was
>nirvana. We named our selves the Southern Collegians. We picked up a
>trombonist from New Orleans,Dave Comegys who was studying the ministry, a
>drummer named Rudy Schaeffer of the beer family hertiage or Rud Abbott, a
>player named George Young from the oil fields fame,and when the trombone
and drums had other commitments Paul, who sat in with the black musicians
during their jam sessions in their part of town [remember this was 1950]
corralled a drummer [Bobby and a trombone player
>named Duke, who was also the town's black mortician and many times we
>considered changing our name to the Formaldehyde Five. Paul later went on
to fame by producing the Police Academy movies, Russia House with Sean
>Connery and Michelle Pfiffer and appeared on the Johnny Carson Show many
times with the Beverly Hills Jazz Band.

      By the spring Brian has consumed half the production of the local
>and then some.One could hear him from any
>part of the Freshman dorm practicing his instrument sometimes alone
>sometimes playing along with the great Art Hodes, Pee Wee Russel and
>By the spring of 1951,his weight swelled up to 260 pounds plus. Brave heart
that he was
>he went out for baseball practice anyway. We had a preseason practice game
>with William and Mary. Brian lumbered to the mound, threw a few warm-up
>that were reasonably close to the strike zone and then the batter stepped
>the box. Brian really leaned into one and it sailed six feet over the
>batters head and hit the backstop an additional thirty feet away with a
>crack. He threw three more of those comets all hitting the backstop. The
>coach called time out walked to the mounds as the batter walked to first
> and asked Brian, " Do you think you can throw one over the plate with that
>Brian shook his head no. The coach, who loved our music, said,
>"Back to the licorice stick? Brian nodded yes. This was a lucky break for
>all the girl's schools and fraternity houses within a two hundred mile
>We never missed a weekend playing at one of them. It was a blast. Brian was
>our leader. I can still see him with his eyes closed,clartinet in the air,
>ready to point to the next soloist. He never waved it at me, which was
>I was just happy to part of the experience. Brian, may flights of angels
>"Sing,Sing,Sing" thee to thy rest.
>Stephen Sloan: Southern Collegians Class of 1954-Washington and Lee