[Dixielandjazz] Irving Fazola

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 31 19:01:36 PDT 2009

Since things are slow on the list, I thought I'd post this, even  
though I posted it on another list which some of the DJMLers would  
have seen.  It is about the various appetites of Irving Fazola, a  
wonderful clarinetist. Al Rose was a Jazz impresario here in  
Philadelphia before moving permanently to New Orleans. There, he was  
associated with Larry Borenstein and the beginning of Preservation Hall.

Rose was a very interesting man, with many contacts among jazz  
musicians. For a real treat go to http://rexrose.com/alrose.htm and  
read about Al Rose, Larry Borenstein, Preservation Hall and some of  
the inside views about the jazz world and those who kept the torch  

Steve Barbone

Excerpted from Al Rose's Book, "I Remember Jazz" - Pages 24 & 25   
(WONDERFUL BOOK OF STORIES like this one about Irving Fazola)

Once he invited me to his room in the Picadilly Hotel in Manhattan  
where I found him en deshabile in bed with a pair of seriously battle- 
worn chippies. A third superannuated Venus slept noisily on a nearby  
rollaway bed. Faz generously let me know I was welcome to participate  
in the festivities, but I explained that I had too much business to  
take care of. I managed to get him out of bed long enough to say;  
"Look, Faz,. You're supposed to play a concert for me in Philadelphia  
a week from Friday. That means you don't drink anything that day,  
understand? No beer no whine, no whiskey.

He favored me with a stream of selected uniquely New Orleans style  
expletives, the utterence of which was his second most noteworthy  
achievement, but in the end he pledged himself to abjure all  
intoxicants on the Friday in question". . .

Come the Friday evening of the concert. At about 7 PM I got a call  
from a Horn and Hardart's Automat Restaurant . . . The manager was on  
the line and wanted to know if I knew a Mr. Fazola. He went on to  
explain that Mr. Fazola had eaten more than he had intended and as a  
result had found himself wedged, apparently forever, in one of those  
captain's chairs. He could not be pried loose . . . I immediately sent  
an ambulance and hurried over there myself. . .

There was Fazola clearly jammed into the chair. "What the hell  
happened?" I demanded . . .

"Well, I gave you my promise . . . I told you I wouldn't drink nothin'  
today and I didn't."  He gotten into town on the train a little early  
and had just decided to while away the time over a hamburger or two.

"How many did you eat?" I asked him.

"Thirty Six, he admitted. I still feel OK, I just can't get up out of  
the chair.

So the two ambulance attendants, the two busboys, the manager and I  
carefully loaded him, with the chair, into the ambulance, drove to the  
Academy of Music, and unloaded him carefully right at center stage of  
the Auditorium . . .

Patrons of Journeys into Jazz who remember that night might recall  
thinking it odd to come to their seats promptly at 8:30 and see one of  
the great stars of jazz sitting contentedly on stage putting his  
clarinet together . . .

During the first half of the concert, Faz kept his seat, playing  
magnificently, but not standing fir his solos as was customary. At  
intermission time, pianist Joe Sullivan, trombonist Munn Ware and I  
pulled him loose. The second half of the concert went off without a  
hitch, though I did substitute a chair without arms. Faz then got up  
to do his solos and nobody could tell we had started the evening with  
an emergency/

After the concert, Faz sheepishly suggested he'd like to go somewhere  
to eat. I took him to Bill Yancy's (He was once a black major league  
baseball star). And Faz ordered - You guessed it - hamburgers.

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