When we first met, Marilyn.dressed like a women in a Renoir painting. She had a joint in a Chinese jar. Her sister lived in France. We met in HS in 1962. She was 15 and I 16. She was a good friend of Les McCann and his French wife.
Marilyn and I are dear friends. Before I got married, my wife and I slept in her bed, and she wore a dress M made. This is at the reception. M is on the left, my brother’s girldfriend, my niece, Shannon. and my sister, Christine. Rick Partlow is reclined..
M and I have just broken up. It is Easter. On Good Friday we went to a Hollywood nightclub with her friend, Kathy. a 25 woman who was fired by Mayor Yorty for not sleeping with his enemies to get info. M and I are 17. Her mother wants M to stop seeing me because I refused to go down and be saved at the Billy Graham crusade. I catch the golfer Arnold Palmer oggling M’s ass. Kathy is dating the producer of ABC Golf. At the club this singer with rings on all his fingers send drinks to our table. I walk out. Saturday M tells me she slept with a 24 year old German jet-setter. I punch the wall and break my hand. My uncle will give me his Ford Fairlane you see parked. I dreamt about driving it to SF to party with the first girl I ever kissed, and two members of the Jefferson Airplane. All this drama, took place in 64 and 65. You can see the cast on my hand. That is my uncle and brother. Love, hurts!
Here is my girlfriend, Gloria, on my mountain. The day we broke up, M showed up to visit me. I was driving to LA. G and M never met, and went to SF to a club where G sang. They had a ball without me while I drive south with a heart full of sorrow. Love hurts!
I fell in 1967. In 1976 I did this painting of my angel coming from the sea carrying a glass float that looks like the world, she is giving back to me. I did this painting from memory.
The Black Panthers. Fela was introduced to the Black Panthers in 1969 on a tour of America by one of his girlfriends, Sandra Smith(Isadore). She changed the way he lived his life by introducing his to the works of black radicals like Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, and Malcolm X who’s autobiography gave him a new love of Africa. When he returned to Africa, he was energized and wanted to change the whole continent, and all of his subsequent albums carried a political message. “The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions” was his last Pop album.
Fela’s birth name means ‘He Who Emanates Greatness (Fela), Having Control Over Death (Anikulapo), Death Cannot Be Caused By Human Entity (Kuti)’.
Carlos Moore was a close friend of Fela. His republished biography, “Fela: This Bitch of a Life” is a moving account of Fela, told from the inside. During his stay in Nigeria, Carlos will read from the book, discuss Fela and his times with Very Special Guests and give several public lectures. Guests will also have the opportunity to kick back and listen to Fela favourites sung by the hip and the new. Attending these events is your only chance to own a copy of this collector’s item book this year.
On our second date M took me to meet her good friend, Les MaCann who played and sang for us on his baby grand as we looked down on the lights of LA. We were 15 and 16. That is Ms husband, Jazz drummer, Kenny Reed, and Carlos Moore’s son. Some hippies believe this song is our national anthem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzvlivbptXk
Carlos sold his story to some folks who wanted to turn it into a off broadway musical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB0GepZMzKU
Marilyn was like a sister to my sisters and my ex-wife, Mary Ann Tharaldsen, who was married to Thomas Pynchon, who was a fan of Jazz.
Thomas Pynchon (1937 – ) is a contemporary Amercian author of the first rank, creator of several marvelously intricate novels. Pynchon also seems to have spent some time listening closely to jazz in the late fifties, and the inclusion of allusions and echoes of that jazz scene provides additional enjoyment for those of us who also know jazz.
Pynchon’s first novel V (1961) includes a minor character named McClintic Sphere. Pynchon introduces him in a remarkable section (page 47 in my Bantam edition) with a whole series of links, allusions, echoes, and satirical reflections of the late 1950’s and Ornette Coleman’s legendary Five Spot appearance in Greenwich Village.
The section starts with several of the New York cast arriving at a Greenwich Village nightclub called the V-Note:
- V for the title of the novel and an elusive woman, object of a novel-long search by one of the characters.
- V as in the Roman Numeral for Five = Five Spot. This famous club featured Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane (1957) in a legendary engagement; it was the nightclub where Ornette Coleman first opened in November 1959 (and where he played a number of times over the following years)
- V-Note. The Note = Half Note. Another Greenwich Village club, and another venue at which Coleman played during the period
McClintic Sphere is playing onstage when the group enters. Sphere is Thelonious Monk’s middle name (Monk was a frequent performer in the village at the time and as noted is closely associated with the Five Spot). McClintic may be an echo of Coleman’s unusual first name. (The only jazz musician with a somewhat similar first name would be Kenny Dorham, whose given first name was McKinley. He performed regularly in New York during that period and may be associated with groups that played the Five Spot).
p. 48 “He blew a hand-carved ivory alto saxophone” Obvious reference to the plastic alto saxophone which Ornette used in the late fifties, evidently because it was cheaper than a metal sax and because it gave him a more flexible sound. “…with a 4 1/2 reed” Also a reference to the 4 1/2 strength reed which Ornette used in Los Angeles (described by Don Cherry in a famous passage in an interview with Joe Goldberg).
The next paragraphs include some nice descriptions of the reactions in the audience, from those who simply left, to those from other groups who were unwilling to reject it, to those few who liked it. This directly echoes the reports in down beat about Coleman’s first appearances at the Five Spot in 1959.
“The group on the stand had no piano: it was bass, drums, McClintic and a boy he had found in the Ozarks who blew a natural horn in F”. This is an echo of the Ornette Coleman Quartet, and the natural horn may be a reference to the unusual pocket trumpet which Don Cherry favored at the time. (Cherry was of course from Los Angeles). “The bass was small and evil-looking and his eyes were yellow with pinpoints in the center”. I have no idea which of Ornette’s bassists this refers to-possibly David Izenzon? The bassist at the time of course was Charles Haden, by no means small and evil looking. The next paragraph is a biting description of some of those in the audience, “mostly those who wrote for Downbeat magazine or the liners of LP records…”. (Reader Clay Thurmond also points out that Sphere’s playing is described here as “something else”–which is the title of Coleman’s first LP on Contemporary Records recorded in 1958).
On the next page (p.49): “Since the soul of Charlie Parker had dissolved away into a hostile March wind nearly a year before…”. This is too early for Ornette, but only by three years. Parker died in March 1955 which would make this early 1956. In 1956 Ornette was still an unemployed, unknown musician in Los Angeles. He did not arrive in New York city until the fall of 1959, and the controversy, the club names and the rest of the allusions belong to that specific period. On the same page: “He plays all the notes Bird missed”, somebody whispered”. Another allusion to the impact of Ornette, who received a lot of attention as the next alto saxophonist after Parker to move the music forward…
(McClintic Sphere reappears elsewhere in the novel, specifically starting around page 326, but there are no direct allusions to Ornette Coleman or other jazz figures).
Incidentally, several other Pynchon works contain references to jazz and its practitioners. There are a number of sections dealing with Charlie Parker in Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) and the short story Entropy (first published in the Kenyon Review) should amuse those enamored of the original Gerry Mulligan Quartet.