[Dixielandjazz] George Shearing Story / The jazz oblivious audience

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 4 06:22:18 PDT 2004

George Shearing reportedly told this story at an afternoon panel discussion
during the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival:

The quintet arrived for a gig in Atlantic City, where we discovered what we
had a "salt water taffy" piano, suffering from salt air and humidity.  Since
the group had a vibraphone and because the piano was so out of tune "in the
cracks," Shearing said that he couldn't even play a half step up or down so
they hurriedly called in a piano tuner.

By the time the tuner was deep into his work on the instrument, supper
patrons were already coming in, and had their meals and drinks to the
accompaniment of the tuner's plinks, plunks and scales, plus tuning fork
sounds.  Shearing reported that as a couple at one table finished its meal
and left, one guy commented, "I could never understand this modern jazz

Steve Barbone

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