[Dixielandjazz] Ruby Braff

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 27 19:14:18 PST 2003


Saw the below story on another jazz list and thought it would be
Steve Barbone

What follows is excerpted from the liner notes by Steve Voce for the
most recent Ruby Braff
release, "Watch What Happens" (Arbors ARCD 19259).  The anecdote was
originally narrated
by Ruby during an interview with Voce on the latter's Jazz Panorama
program on BBC North.

Voce's liner notes introduce it with what has become unintended
poignancy in the light of
Ruby's passing.  He writes: "Ruby is one of the few people alive [sic]
who played with Fats
Waller."  Then Ruby takes over.

"Sunday was traditionally a day for jam sessions in Boston when I was a
little kid.  I was
walking up Tremont Street with my horn one Sunday.  There was a club
there called The Tick
Tock that had a stairway that went absolutely straight up for about a
mile.  There were a couple
of guys trying to get a baby grand white piano up the stairs.  Later, on
my way back, my
curiosity took me up the stairs to see what had happened.  I guess they
were having what we'd
now call a sound check.  There was this big, jolly, fat man laughing and
singing and whistling to
himself.  There was nobody else there but the musicians.  I just sat
down on a chair and watched
while they warmed up.  At one point the big man looked at me and said
'Hey! What you got
"I said, it's a trumpet."
"Can you play it?"
"Yeah, I said."
"How good can you play it?"
"I don't know."
"Would you like to play with me?"
"What would you like to play?"
"I said, 'Do you know Honeysuckle Rose?'"
"He kept a very straight face and he said to the other fellows 'Do we
know Honeysuckle Rose?'"

"So I played that with him and then some more tunes that I'd learned
from the radio.  It was
some time later that I was sitting in a cinema with some friends in the
local movie house when
he suddenly appeared on the screen and I learned that I'd been playing
with Fats Waller."

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