[Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Harry Gold

Gary Kiser gary at kiser.org
Fri Dec 2 17:37:02 PST 2005

Harry was pure fun.  When I was on the steering committee for the Los 
Angeles Classic in '86, we had his fine band on the line-up.  My radio 
cohort, John McNally, and I got the idea of putting together a 
octogenarian band.  I first talked with Harry, Rosy McHargue and Wild 
Bill (all on that year's roster) if they were up to the idea.  With 
their green light, I organized 2 sets with a band I called "Still Going 

Rosy McHargue - C melody sax
Wild Bill Davison - cornet
Harry Gold - behemoth sax
Spiegle Willcox - trombone
Paul Mertz - piano
Tommy Hearne - banjo
and, my aging skull can't remember who I booked on bass and drums 
Bernard Carrera on bass and Gabriel --- on drums maybe.  If anyone has 
photos of these sets, I'd LOVE copies.

I enjoyed the sets, however, I heard many gripes that the group was just 
a bunch of old men with instruments.  Personally, I disagreed.  I had a 
kick hanging with these guys for the weekend.  They would compare notes 
of events waaaaay before I was born.  They discussed/argued the music 
business, recording, women, booze, and more.  I regret there was no 
"making of..." video made because the off stage banter was precious.

Harry's big thing was he wanted me to take him to a supermarket.  Yes, a 
supermarket.  He wanted to compare notes with what was on the shelves 
back home.  He ended up buying a bunch of stuff to take back as gifts.  
To my knowledge, he never visited a regular gift shop.  He was more 
interested in cookies, crackers and canned goods.

We exchanged post cards for several years afterwards, but, that 
dwindled.  I regret that I never looked him up since I have been in 
France.  That said, in the 15 years that I have been over here, I have 
only been to England one time.  They talk funny over there.

Away from Harry, I had a B-L-A-S-T with Spiegle.  It was his first 
appearance on the West Coast in 25 years.  At first, he asked much more 
money than the festival would pay.  Margaret Teagarden grilled me 
publicly for wanting to bring a has-been out west for above all-star 
pay.  A week after I gave Spiegle the bad news that his conditions were 
refused, he called me back to accept standard all-star pay.

 From the numerous invitations out west that followed showed that my 
ideas weren't that bad after all.  Weird, I was completely left behind 
on all Spiegle tributes after he left us.

Anyway, Spiegle stayed at my little apartment on 3rd street in Santa 
Monica for about a week and we had a ball.  I'd get him over to Rosy's 
and I'd just listen to them go over the ol' times.  Again, I am an idiot 
for not recording these conversations.

If anyone thinks that Rosy was a flirt, then they never met Spiegle.  I 
took Spiegle to several local (sometimes dive) restaurants (that's what 
he wanted) and no waitress was safe.  Oh, he was harmless to the girls, 
but I'm sure if he was 'that kind of guy,' he would have 'won' a couple 
with his charm even at his age.  I took both Rosy and Spiegle to the 
'50's Café' (I think that is what it was called on Lincoln in Venice) 
and the two had a field day with the waitresses in their 50's style 
skirts.  There were four marriage proposals that meal.

I hope Harry finds his friends in that great jazz band in the stars.

All the best, Gary

Gary Kiser
Clermont-Ferrand, France


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