[Dixielandjazz] Some free associations - Was Jo Stafford

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 20 14:00:41 PDT 2008

> "AL LEVY" <jazz_man at ix.netcom.com> wrote (polite snip)
> Jazz note:
> I was working on West 3rd Street and 8th Ave at a club
> called Mona's. Six nights a week for about three years.
> I often subbed across the street at Tony Pastors.
> Drummer across the street was Andy Napoleon,
> one of the brothers. You remember Marty? (piano)
> Phil (sax) and there were two more + an uncle who
> repaired woodwinds. The entire family had a conference
> call (phone) every Saturday night.
> Meanwhile, a block away from where I was working was
> a club called the Famous Door. (NYC) not New Orleans.
> Sunday nights anyone could fall in for a small fee, and
> sit in. Dave Lambert ran the sessions.
> During the years I worked in the village I got to hear
> many players at these sessions. Bechet to Coltrane,
> Ray Brown to Charles Mingus and on like that till the
> wee hours of the morning every Sunday.
> I even had the guts to sit in now and again.
> Now going back to a previous thread: If any of the players had
> to be paid, it never would have happened.

Hey Al:

I too sat in at the Famous Door a time or two when experimenting with  
that new fangled jazz. Also visited Mona's and Tony Pastors.

Yes indeed, the Famous Door was quite the place and those sessions  
were legendary. A great place to learn how to play jazz from the  
masters. But you had to have thick skin as there was many an old  
fashioned cutting contest during them.

Many informal loft sessions went on during that time also, in the  
garment district. And everybody showed up to strut his stuff,  
including Pops Foster, J C Higginbotham, Steve Lacy, Hot Lips Paige,  
et al. What a trip that was.

Who knows, we may have run across each other back then but my memory  
is a bit cloudy recalling those nights. Too much booze and other  
stuff, too many wild women, all sorts of song, plus the pressures of  
going to College days to get my two degrees. <grin>

Those 7 years were, like the Chinese curse, interesting times and too  
this day it's amazing that I survived. Did you ever visit the  
Cinderella Club? I was there for a while with a batch of different  
players including trumpeters Jack Fine, Dick Sudhalter, Johnny  
Windhurst, trombonists Roswell Rudd, and Vic Dickenson, bassists Ahmed  
Abdul Malik and Chuck Traeger, drummers Kenny John, Johnny Bloweers  
and others, pianist Gene Schroeder and others, and on occasion Kenny  
Davern. (who could cut me to ribbons, but rather nicely taught me a  
few things, including how to blow loudly and not use a microphone)

BTW, Phil Napoleon played trumpet and appeared often at Nick's on West  
10th. Saw Marty Napoleon frequently with Charlie Ventura because my  
friend and current bassist Ace Tesone was part of that group. One  
night they had Gene Krupa on drums who besides being a great drummer,  
was a genuine, stand up nice man.

Steve Barbone

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