Thursday, May 31, 2012


Fourth of July weekend. 1958. I'm thirteen. My dad and I are visiting Aunt Katie and Uncle Charlie in Newport, RI. My Aunt Bette turns up. (Another favorite relative: she and I shared January 11 birthdays; Bette gave me some of my first Top 40 records.) Bette takes me to the 5th Annual Newport Jazz Festival in Freebody Park on the night of July 5. One of my rock 'n roll heroes is on the bill. Like the t-shirt says, WE MAY BE OLD BUT WE SAW THE BEST BANDS.

Cheapskate Chuck was known over the years for using crappy pick-up bands in the towns where he toured. Not in this instance. On this date he's backed by Buck Clayton (trumpet), Jack Teagarden (trombone), Tony Scott (clarinet), Buddy Tate (sax), Rudy Rutherford (sax), George Auld (sax), Ray Bryant (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Tommy Bryant (bass) and Jo Jones (drums). Holy fuck.

This clip is from Bert Stern and Aram Avakian's brilliant documentary Jazz On A Summer's Day. Well worth your time. DVD available from Amazon.

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