Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category


Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Jazz lost yet another innovative original, singer Anita O’Day, who passed away at the age of 87 Thursday, November 23rd. Considering the life she led, well detailed in her autobiography of some years back, “High Times, Hard Times;” it is simply amazing that she made it past 50 years of age. And she was singing, after a fashion, just about up until the end. 

O’Day was at the forefront of an entire school of jazz vocalists from Chris Connor and June Christy on up and on down, and it’s a “school” that continues today in various guises. For instance, O’Day’s amazingly wide sphere of influence included plenty of jazz-oriented popsters, including the likes of Joanie Sommers. Britain’s Stacey Kent, who sounds almost exactly like Sommers (though Kent told me she never really listened to Joanie), is therefore, in a way, an O’Day student, albeit a couple of times removed. Plenty of male singers got he message as well. It’s hard to believe that Mel Torme’, for instance, didn’t listen closely to Anita. 

She, along with Roy Eldridge, really helped put the Gene Krupa band on the popular and critical map upon their arrival in 1941. Gene’s crew, until then, was a good, more-than competent and always musically swinging crew, though it never really came across on records. Though the band had some good singers, soloists and arrangers, there was nothing utterly distinctive about it until Anita and Roy arrived. It wasn’t long after their arrival that Krupa had two, real “stars” on his hands, and a number of hit records, to boot. Anita always had great, great words about her days with the band, and Gene’s drumming in particular, and this was from someone whose quotient of kind words through the years were measured carefully. And no, for the tabloid-oriented amongst us, O’Day verified a number of times that she never had an affair with Krupa. So there! 

Anita O’Day was among the very, very few in jazz history to successfully modernize as time went on. Her groundbreaking work for Norman Granz Verve record label in the 1950s was more than an extension of cool. Anita O’Day was cool by being hot, if that is possible. She always swung and swung hard. Her scatting was refreshing, inventive, surprising and often rhythmically impossible. She could not, quite simply, get lost, and some of those 1950s charts–Gary McFarland’s, for one–were darned difficult. O’Day even drove Oscar Peterson, a speed wizard if there ever was one back then, to extremes. 

With the arrival of The Beatles, the entire entertainment business changed and it would never be the same. Julie LaRosa, a fine and underrated singer, once told me, “Before the Beatles, we were thrilled if we could fill a 400-seat club. After their arrival, if you couldn’t fill a 20,000-seat stadium, you couldn’t get work. 

It was no different for Anita O’Day, though it was likely worse, given the hard times jazz experienced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In those years, and the sordid details have been repeated often enough elsewhere, she survived drug overdoses, arrests, periods of “almost-homelessness” and worse. Yet musically, when she had the chance, most often for her own Emily record label, Anita continued to evolve, at times foreshadowing what Betty Carter would much later take, to these ears, excess. As “far out” as she may have gone harmonically and rhythmically, Anita O’Day never forgot the lyric. Others did. In those years, like many artists in similar situations, she took work where she could. The scenarios were not often pleasant. Her general frustration with the scene and with the bread, to say nothing of her difficulties at the time with alcohol made for some strange situations on the bandstand. At a small club in Philadelphia, for instance, Anita berated the local trio backing her–on the stage–because they didn’t know “Let Me Off Uptown,” even though there was no chart for it in her book. 

She did some nice work in the 1980s, buoyed by the response to her autobiography (Madonna at one time held the film rights to it), interviews on “60 Minutes and other national television shows, work at festivals, etc. At long last, this miraculous survivor was deservedly deemed a legend. 

If all had been right with the world, she would have bowed out gracefully at the end of the 1980s, appearing at ceremonial occasions to be justifiably honored as amongst the universe’s most influential artists. Although her chops were just about shot, she kept on singing. Too, too often, the results were variable. Who knows why she kept on. Bread? Glory? The fact that singing was all she knew? Who knows? Ali, Sinatra, Joe Louis comprise just a very few who, in the opinion of the public, stayed too long at the fair. Or did they? The public kept on coming and kept applauding. Isn’t that what was and is important? 

Cut to the latter 1990s and the year 2000 until now. Though I don’t know all the details, some time during those years, a relative youngster by the name of Robbie Cavolina attached himself to Anita O’Day, billed himself as her “manager,” and began booking her all over the world. The problem was, that Anita O’Day could no longer sing in any way, shape or form, and if my time with her several years ago at the Denver Jazz on Film Festival was any indication, she had little idea where she was. The whole idea of it was, simply, pitiful, and smacked of the grossest exploitation possible. Not too long ago, Cavolina had the unmitigated nerve to trot O’Day into a recording studio–or living room, as it sounded on the CD–to record something called “Indefatigable,” one of the saddest and most embarrassing documents ever recorded by anyone. It is an insult of the lowest kind to the legacy of Anita O’Day, and could have only been done for one reason: bread. If Anita O’Day, the consummate artist, had any idea what was happening, she would have never allowed it. It is a sin that Robbie Cavolina did. 

A year or two ago, word came that a documentary on O’Day’s life was in preparation, and such a document is long, long overdue. The film is said to me almost completed, and tt’s a shame that Anita did not live to see it. I did, however, get a glance at the preliminary credits for the picture, and it lists none other than Mr. Robbie Cavolina as “director,” “producer” and “writer.” I hope he finally gets some money out of the whole thing which, to me, is why he went into this game to begin with. Anita O’Day, at the very end, deserved better. 

Bruce Klauber December, 2006


Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

After some good reviews both in and out of the industry and decent sales for a project of this scope, the backlash against “Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend” has begun, as I knew it inevitably would. The e-mails being received in this regard, and thankfully there aren’t many of them, concern a number of errors that these readers found, all told, totaling about eight, and one was a typo. Some suggest that Gene is deserving of a more “scholarly” work. Others claim that I am spouting inaccuracies because, since the subject of the book is dead, no one will know the difference. Wow. 

Regretfully, there are errors thousands of publications of every kind. Some of the publications, like the errors they contain, are of every size and type. One, very, very well-known mail-order catalog, just as minor example, continues to say that “drugs destroyed (Gene’s) life” in their copy advertising “The Gene Krupa Story. DVD. One very well-known writer for the jazz magazine “of record,” recently reviewed a big name singer and credited his drummer for doing a fine job. Problem was that the drummer he named only appeared on two tracks recorded 20 years ago, because said drummer has been dead since 1989. One great newspaper review of a concert, that appeared in Philadelphia publication years ago, was a rave, rave write-up of a Ray Charles concert. The problem this time is that Charles actually cancelled the concert and there was no such show. The year after, Philadelphia’s major newpaper and Pulitzer Prize winner had a review of a Count Basie concert. The reviewer remarked that he especially enjoyed the Count’s rendition of the famous song, “Chinese Stockings.” I’m not even going to talk about the minor inaccuracies that pop up in many jazz books. It’s a fact of life, and it happens. Always did, always will. 

Hopefully, whatever screw-ups made by my publisher, my editor and me—individually and collectively—stand as more minor than Count Basie’s “Chinese Stockings.” That reviewer is still working, by the way. 

Some of the errors mentioned in my Krupa book are some reputed misspellings (Frank Bellino’s name was spelled Bellino in no less than “Down Beat” magazine, though someone insists it is spelled otherwise), the exact year when Gene began using a swish cymbal (told to me, by the way, by both Charlie Ventura and Eddie Wasserman), dates of photos that may or may not have been off by a year or two, some background figures in photos that may or may not have been misidentified, etc. 

I do regret two errors: One was a simple typo, naming my good friend Bruce Crowther as Bruce Growther. It happens. Just as another crazy example, a major drum magazine which should know much, much better, spelled my last name as “Kaluber.” And I’ve been working with them for almost 20 years. Like I said, it happens. So, to my friend Bruce, and we refer to each other as “the other Bruce,” 

My sincerest apologies. 

The other grievance concerns a photograph that is evidently owned by that great drummer, Krupa fan, Krupa supporter and keeper of the Krupa flame, Brooks Tegler. I will not—nor will I ever—dispute the fact that the photograph in question is owned by Brooks Tegler. I know Brooks and his dad, the great John Tegler, for many years. If the Tegler’s say it—about anything—you can bet it is so. From my end, on the copy of the photograph I had, there was absolutely no identifying mark or photo credit on or near the photo itself. Several others, whom I will not name, have also evidently used it uncredited. Believe me, as was said in the book’s introduction, if an error was made in terms of credit, it is deeply, deeply regretted and I will do everything within my limited power to make things right. I have been in the Tegler’s home and in their company many, many times. What they do for the cause of jazz simply cannot be measured. Brooks, by the way, is heading up a jazz cruise this coming August, where his crackerjack big band will pay tribute pay tribute to Gene, Benny, Glenn Miller and various others in the most authentic manner possible. John will offer commentary and plenty of inside stuff along the way. Check out the latest issue of “Jazz Times” for details. 

As some of you know, this book was caught in the transition between publishers, when Warner Bros. Publications was sold to the Alfred Publishing Company. If things hadn’t become so complex during this changeover, and I am told that the Krupa book was one of the few projects that survived the change, there likely would have been fewer mistakes than the eight or so reputed ones that there could be. In using over 200 photos, most of them not credited in any way, shape or form, it’s quite possible that some of them may be off by a year or two in terms of identification. Unless you where there, your guess is as good as mine…believe me. I am not offering excuses, but the accusers should know some of the details involved in a production like this before they accuse so negatively. 

There are several “little guys” (to use Gene’s term) out there who, it appears, want to claim some kind of “ownership” of Gene and, for whatever reason, want to nitpick to death projects like these and those who do them. One, in particular, who is no longer with us, virtually “nixed” the promotion of a Slingerland, “Krupa Tribute” drum set, as he insisted that Gene “invented” the Radio King snare drum, insisted that Slingerland include a 16 X 18 floor tom in the kit, etc. Look whavt happened to the “new” Radio King line. 

Let me give you some names of those who have given my books and videos a good deal of support through the years: Charlie Ventura, Marty Napoleon, Bobby Scott, Eddie Wasserman and John Bunch. They all played with Gene, and yes, I had the good fortune of playing with them as well. Then there were Mel Torme’, Teddy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Jack DeJohnette, Ed Shaughnessy, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Steve Gadd, Max Roach and many more with whom I’ve worked over the years. The contemporary drummers in the new Krupa book, who know more about Gene than anyone can imagine, have also been behind me since day one and have never suggested my various works be “more scholarly” or bugged me about the date Gene used a swish or sizzle cymbal. 

I decided long ago that the jazz community was much too small for us to be criticizing each other, and that was the time I made the decision that I would no longer function as a critic…of anything. Here’s one example why: In the “critical” arena, there’s an author and reviewer out there who stands as about the most prolific author and reviewer on jazz in the jazz industry. This guy must be watching DVDs and listening to CDs in his sleep, and good for him. We were, at one time, colleagues and associates in this very small community. As a matter of professional courtesy, I sent this fellow a copy of a semi-private CD release by a vocalist I helped produce—and I played on it as well. My only request to this guy was, “If you dig it and want to say a nice word or two about it, please have a ball. If it’s not to your taste, just toss it out and forget it existed, as it’s mostly a self-produced private thing, anyway. This was some years ago, and I didn’t discover until recently that Mr. Jazz Author reviewed this project, posted on some inconsequential website, and absolutely “skewered” the vocalist and those involved. It was mean-spirited. What was the writer’s purpose in doing this? As Jackie Gleason one said, “What does it get you?” The negatives hurt. Forget the fact that I may be hurt. The negatives hurt the industry. How many of those, after all, are there in what we call “jazz?” 

Good, bad or indifferent, I believe that the various Krupa projects over the years—whether video, DVD, books or magazine articles, tribute bands and drummers, CDs and web sites—have really helped bring Gene’s name back before a public that may have forgotten him, and have helped garner an entire new audience for the man and his music. That, I believe, is the point, not whether Gene used a swish cymbal before 1962. 

Three books have been written about Gene since 1992: one by Bruce Crowther and two by me. If any of you, mainly those who really do know volumes about Krupa, I cordially invite you to write your own. I’ll help you get a publisher, too. 

I am so fortunate that my friend, and yes, my musical idol, Charlie Ventura lived to see my first Krupa book come out. Other than those in the Goodman Quartet, Charlie, I believe, had the longest on-and-off association with Gene. I asked Charlie one night what Gene would have thought about my book. “He would have loved it, Bruce,” Chaz said. And that was and is enough for me. 


There is a lot of controversy these days about the famous—or infamous, depending on your point of view—website called YouTube. I believe there has been some discussion about it on our Forum, as well. The fact is, and you can ask anyone from NBC and CNN on up and on down, that YouTube is using copyrighted material. By the droves. I am told that the numbers of those now lined up to sue them are more than equal to the population of a small state. Yes, they are showing Gene Krupa clips, and yes, most of them are mine. And yes, I paid thousands for them through the years. And yes, this is copyright infringement of the most obvious kind. It will be an eye-opening experience for some of you to see the hoops one must go through in order to actually prove copyright infringement. One has to provide everything from your waist size to the maiden name of your next-of-kin. Though this is an exaggeration, check it out. I did, and I have neither the time nor the desire to attempt to fight what is rapidly becoming the internet version of big brother and city hall. If YouTube, reportedly a billion-plus dollar company, gets its rocks off by showing a clip of Gene playing “Leave Us Leap” that I paid Turner Entertainment a thousand-plus dollars for in 1993, then so be it. I wish I had the support that they did, and in line with that, as has been mentioned before, is now accepting appropriate paid advertising. E-Mail me if you’re interested. Maybe I’ll pitch YouTube. 

Talks are continuing with Vic Firth about a Krupa drumstick, and I do hope to meet with Vic personally after the holidays. Likewise with our concept for “The Great American Drum Catalogs” book, which has already garnered the endorsements and blessings of Gretch and Ludwig. Stay tuned and have a swingin’ Thanksgiving and beyond. 

Bruce Klauber 

November, 2006

There’s No Business Like Drum Business

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

The cases of the defunct, American drum companies–Rogers and Slingerland–represent, to me, two of the saddest and most disgraceful happenings in drum and in industrial history. For a company like Slingerland to go under, and this is an outfit that had both Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich as endorsers, is just unbelievable. They keep hanging on for some reason, though it is virtually impossible to reach anyone from Slingerland by phone, mail or e-mail, and their products are impossible to come by. Those in the know have continually pointed out that owner Gibson, the famous guitar manufacturer, could care less about drums and about Slingerland. 

The latest news in this dire arena has to do with the famed, Rogers drum company. I’ve said this before, and I’m certain many drummers out there will agree, that for many years, Rogers was the drum we all aspired to own at one time or another. They were, for a number of years, the absolute best in every sense. Careful listeners agree that Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson and many other famous Rogers players never sounded better on any instrument, and that the legendary Dynasonic snare drum was, depending on one’s taste, the best ever made. 

Rogers really began to come into there own as an industry factor when Henry Grossman purchased the company in 1953 and moved operations to Covington, OH. While the firm’s greatest years lasted until 1966, when CBS bought the company, Rogers still had a lot of life left within it in terms of the development of Memorilock hardware and other innovations that foreshadowed the era of extra-heavy-duty stands, pedals, racks and other hardware. After disastrous move to Monrovia, California in 1979, a brief move to Mexico the following year, and then a return to Fullerton, CA in 1981, things steadily went downhill. Rob Cook’s wonderful book on the Rogers drum company, published by his own Rebeats outfit, tells the painful story in grim detail. By 1987, Rogers had licensed their once-invaluable name to the Island Music Company, which solely functioned as an importer of drums with the Rogers name slapped on. What a lousy way to go. I often compare that scenario with that of the American automobile manufacturers who refused to see the handwriting on the wall, refused to acknowledge the rise and the quality of cars manufactured overseas, and in every sense, just shut their eyes in the belief that the party would never end. 

The unbelievable rise in the value and popularity of vintage drums, coupled with the success of American-made DW Drums, the resurrection of Gretsch and the popularity of various, American “boutique” operations, has forced the industry at large to take notice that, to some extent, what is old is new again. Say what you will about Yamaha drums. It’s not for nothing that their product is amongst the most widely used in the music industry. Yamaha drums and their many lines of percussion instruments are consistent in terms of quality and durability. Parts are easy to come by and customer service is great. And, they’ve marketed their name in such a way that Yamaha, in many ways, has become synonymous with the world “drums.” Yamaha’s crack marketing department has again stepped forward in a surprise and most savvy move: The drum division of the Yamaha company has acquired, as the announcement said, “the intellectual property rights” of the Rogers Drum Company. This means that Yamaha now owns the Rogers name, and their plans are to put out a line of Rogers drums. They’re smart at Yamaha. They know the value of the Rogers name. Those on e-bay know that, by and large, a vintage Rogers drum will get, at a minimum, twice as much as a Slingerland, Ludwig or Gretsch drum. Though I would have loved to see an American drum company acquire the Rogers name, and evidently, several have tried through the years, we can only hope that Yamaha will continue to emphasize quality as it applies to a line of Rogers drums. Perhaps Tama will now think about acquiring Slingerland. Someone should. 

We have written several times about the problems and complexities involved with our popular DVD title, “Tony Williams Live in New York City.” It seems that every other copy has been defective in some manner, and we’ve done everything within our power to rectify the problems. The last measure we took, believe it or not, was to acquire a copy of the original laser disc from Japan, and transfer directly to DVD from that source. Even that hasn’t worked. The good news is that we have been fortunate enough to track down, at great expense, the original VHS Video of the program, which is a very, very rare item (most of the issues were on laser disc). That will be our new source, and we believe this will call and end to all the problems. I cannot thank everyone enough for their understanding, and we have gone out of our way to make good with replacement, refunds, etc., on all defective copies. visitors are taking note of our acquisition of more and more Tony Williams titles. The good folks at Hudson Music and yours truly have recently made something of a minor breakthrough with the Williams family in terms of a cooperative effort to get some product out. We believe that it won’t be too long until we make a deal to do the DVD/Video tribute that Tony Williams sorely deserves. 

There’s other positive news on the business front: 

Our agreement with the Barcelona, Spain-based Fresh Sound records continues to move forward, and all of us look forward –if possible–to a Christmas release of the two-CD set of the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert from Hamburg, Germany, in February of 1956. Fresh Sound is a fine, fine outfit with which to do business, and I anticipate doing much, much more with them in the months to come. If it were not for Fresh Sound, hundreds of classic works of jazz, originally on LP and now on CD, would never have seen the light of day. Jordi Pujol at Fresh Sound deserves some type of award for his contributions to jazz and for making so much fine music available., detailed below, has a complete line of what Fresh Sound has to offer as does 

The Gene Krupa pictorial book continues to do very well and continues to garner very positive reviews in the percussion press. Alfred Publishing is another great company in terms of honesty, integrity, openness to new ideas and ability and desire to communicate. These are, indeed, very, rare qualities these days. I am talking to Alfred about several new book and DVD projects. One recent idea that I’ve forwarded to Alfred (and they deserve an award in “Patience Department” for listening my endless lists of “new ideas”) would be a reprinting–in one volume–of several vintage Rogers, Gretsch, Slingerland and Ludwig drum catalogs, with additional commentary and photos by yours truly. Look at the prices that these catalogs get in the marketplace. It’s unbelievable, and I believe, I fine idea for a book. 

On a local basis here in the city of Philadelphia, I would be personally and professionally remiss if I did not mention the superb job that bassist/teacher/entrepreneur Bruce Kaminsky is doing in the Music Department of Drexel University. No, Drexel is not a music school, but with their very, very popular course of study related to the music industry, a full slate of music (which includes jazz) courses is imperative. Kaminsky is the inventor of the KYDD bass (the legendary hybrid acoustic/electric/unbelievably portable instrument), a world class bassist in just about every form of music, and my dear friend of over 30 years. Bruce is doing true wonders with his Percussion Ensemble class at Drexel, and I know this first hand, as I was a guest lecturer/instructor there yesterday. Bruce’s grand finale of the semester, a show to be done on Bruce’s usual grand scale at Drexel’s Mandell Theater, will feature the ensemble doing a singular version of none other than “Sing Sing Sing.” If things work out, and it looks like they will, the guest soloist will be yours truly. Now I know why I love Drexel. 

In many cities across the world, Tower Records represented the last venue where one could browse, seemingly for hours, for jazz CDs, videos, DVDs, books and magazines. I’m told that Sam Goody’s is just about out of business as well, though Goody’s hasn’t meant much to the jazz fan for years. So the future, I’m afraid, is here, but the future for jazz merchandise looks exceedingly bright, though it comes in a rather different form for all of us. The universe’s largest jazz merchandiser on the Internet is a company we’ve highlighted before in this space, called They have, quite simply, the largest selection in the world of virtually everything that is, was or will be related to jazz. This includes CDs, DVDs, rare imported labels of both CDs and DVDs, books, big band charts, Sinatra charts, Kenton charts, Buddy Rich charts, Real Books, and much, much more. I urge each and every one of you to visit EJazzLines frequently, as they, amazingly, get in more merchandise regularly from all over the world. Those great CD reissues on the Fresh Sound and other overseas labels? EJazzLines has them all. Vintage videos from the likes of Rhapsody Films and DVD concerts from Europe? EJazzLines has them all. The Krupa and Buddy Rich stuff on CD that may be missing from your collection? Well, you get the idea. And incidentally, our sincerest congrats to Rob DuBoff of EJazzLines for the newest addition to his family. We look forward to doing some work with this superior operation somewhere down the line, but for right now, after you check your e-mail, visit They are, indeed, “Your global source for everything…that’s jazz!” 

God bless and keep swingin, 

Bruce Klauber November, 2006


Friday, September 22nd, 2006

A number of you have and continue to respond to whatever issue exists with “Randy Caputo as Gene Krupa. Right now, the votes are unanimous, and several of those checking in are musicians who play with Randy. They confirmed my suspicions that this talented gentleman does indeed have his own style, and like many of us, uses Gene and Buddy–to say nothing of Louis and Cozy–as a “jumping off” point. Not to bore you with business, but doesn’t sell a heck of lot of items that Gene is not on, with the exception of Tony Williams, some Jo Jones, and that other drummer we used to feature on the site. However, I am seriously recommending that you give “Randy Caputo as Gene Krupa” a look-see. It will, at the least, make you feel good about music, about tradition and about drumming. Feel free to make suggestions as to who you’d like to see and hear on DVD and on audio. 

Speaking of that “other drummer,” word has filtered down about a “Buddy Rich Drum Company,” with a sample set being on display at the summer NAMM show. Bud has long, long deserved something like this, marketed properly, and there certainly should be a BR stick on the market as well as a cymbal. There was talk of a cymbal some time ago, but nothing came of it. Slingerland, in an attempt to market a Buddy and a Krupa “tribute” set a few years ago, failed miserably. It does not help that then, as now, no one can reach anyone from Slingerland by phone, mail or e-mail. Maybe Slingerland, under the direction of the Gibson guitar company, no longer exists. As it stands, it shouldn’t exist. Look at what Gretsch did. They’re now getting up there with the major manufacturers when everyone counted them out. It can be done. And that, by the way, goes for an enterprising group of folks who should put a Rogers set on the market. 

In not too long a time, you will hopefully notice some great, great changes to the web site. Terry McKyton–the best webmaster who ever webmastered–felt it was due time to bring us into the year of 2006 with some video and a generally updated and easier-to-use design. Terry, a recent Masters Degree awardee from the prestigious Stanton University (As many of you know, Stanton is a ficticious college that used to offer ficticious degrees for about a hundred bucks a pop. As a present for Terry’s real graduation from the Masters program of a real school in Florida, we awarded Terry an official degree from the infamous Stanton. Those of you who have heard this story a billion times must forgive me. I think it’s funny. And I, too, am a proud Stanton graduate.) There is no better web designer out there. This guy pushes buttons on a computer that were said not to exist. If it’s a web site or web design you have in mind, Terry McKyton is, as the Zildjian cymbal people say, “the only serious choice.” 

It is hard to believe that an American record company did not step forward to release our 1956 JATP in Germany discovery. There are so many factors that make this so special, including the artists involved, the level of playing, the superb fidelity and the fact that this show was, until now, not documented in any way, shape or form. Verve turned it down because of what they claimed would be the expense, and likewise, those who own Norman Granz’ Pablo imprint. Those good folks claimed that they had dozens of unreleased shows like this in their vaults, including some concerts with Gene and Buddy. We were promised the details of all these alleged goodies. That was almost a year ago. We are thrilled to say that we are concluding serious talks with the Barcelona, Spain, based Fresh Sounds label. You won’t believe their catalog, and those involved in Fresh Sound are seriously devoted to the music. We are working quickly on this to come out with a first-class package of re-mastered sound, extensive notes and rare photos. If we can get it out for Christmas, there will be a lot of happy gift-givers out there. I’m sure that my many friends on the other side of the ocean are quite aware of Fresh Sound and all the great, great releases in their catalog. We might possibly enter into a DVD agreement with them as well. 

Browsing e-bay the other day, I came upon an extraordinary piece of art and workmanship. A miniature Gene Krupa drum set! I looked at this with great interest and admiration and contacted the artist himself, a fine gent named Rick Parries, and asked for some details and info about him and about his works of art. Here’s Rick himself: ” I have been playing drums since 1969, and of course my influences were Krupa, Rich, Bellson (I am working on his Remo miniature as we speak), Philly Joe, Morello and of course many more. I have always been artistic and love realism art. Detailed miniatures from the time I was a kid always fascinated me. I love drums, and I am very artistic and realized that nobody made a good miniature drumset. A lot of mass produced miniature drums were out there but nothing of any quality at all. So I ordered a miniature drumset off of e-bay, an import, and tore it apart to see how it was made. I started making the drums in my kitchen on the counter not knowing what I was doing or why I was doing it. The rest is history. These are all hand made one by one. I have no special tools to make them They are my own design and I do not claim to do replicas, but a replica “likeness” (“replica” can’t be used loosely). The drums are very labor intensive and some may vary from set to set. An example: tom mounts some could be rail and some swivel for the same drummer. I can do either and it does not take away from the basic cosmetics of the set . In other words I will not put anything on a drumset that does not belong unless I was doing my own designed custom kit. I have no doubt in my mind that these sell. I’ve proven it in the past when I was making them. I put my heart and soul into these drums and want to make sure the customer is getting what they paid for. I strive to make improvements all the time and I have done and will continue. The biggest thrill for me is to bring something to life in a miniature. I have been blessed with a gift of being able to create these little drums. I love building them and creating new product. I really is an honor for me to have the gift to create some of these little drums of past and present for everyone’s enjoyment.” 

Forgive my editing, Richard. I hope all our readers get the idea. Go on e-bay to check out this fine, fine work, and stay attuned to as we plan to hopefully be able to offer this art somewhere down the line. 

And in terms of art, the great, Philadelphia-based abstract painter, Judith Ross, has turned her talents to charcoal drawings of the jazz greats, including Benny, Gene, Bill Harris, Ben Webster and several others. These are really fabulous and are one-of-a-kinds. As soon as the newly-designed web site is ready to go on the air, we will have a separate page offering Ms. Ross’ superb works. 

Anyone who has ever considered themselves a collector and/or just a serious or concerned listener or fan, has what we term “the holy grail.” This could be an LP, a CD, a video or a DVD that you once loved and lost, one you once heard about and never could find, and that magic item that those who think they know about such things claim “do not exist.” It’s a great Forum discussion topic, if nothing else. In my own case, I was told more times than I could remember that the Krupa/Rich drum battle on the Sammy Davis, Jr. television show of 1966 never existed. I knew it did, and couldn’t believe it when I finally got a copy after much, much time and expense. Those clips, as you know, can be seen on “Buddy Rich Jazz Legend Part One.” There are still two, outstanding holy grails for me. One is supposed to be a tv guest shot of Krupa on the Frank Sinatra CBS televison show of 1950 or 1951. Supposedly, the Jazz Trio backs Mr. Sinatra, and then peforms a vocal duet with Gene himself on a song called “18.” I’ve tracked down some leads through the years with those who have claimed to have the audio. They were all dead ends. My second “grail” item was an LP made in the mid-1950s for the obscure and short-lived, New York city-based Herald jazz label. This was a meeting between two of my favorite pianists, Mary and Teddy Napoleon. Teddy, who passed away much too young in 1964, and brother Marty, who is still very much with us, are two two keyboardists I love, Both played with Gene, Buddy, Charlie Ventura and Eddie Shu, and I had the honor of playing with Marty in the mid-1970s. I finally found the recording–where else?–on e-bay. We’ll offer it to you as soon as it arrives. Until there’s more news, God bless and keep swingin’. 

Bruce Klauber, September, 2006


Friday, August 25th, 2006

We somehow knew that Maynard Ferguson’s appearance last month at the Philadelphia jazz club, Zanzibar Blue, would represent the last time we would see and hear this giant. Sadly, we didn’t make it there, and word has now come that Maynard Ferguson has passed away at the age of 78 of kidney and liver failure resulting from an abdominal infection. 

He was the last one. The last of a breed. The last, big-band bus road warrior, constantly traveling the highways to perform at high schools, colleges, clinics, clubs and jazz festivals. The big band era, such as it was, is now officially over. 

Maynard was among the very, very few who played this music called jazz who managed to appeal to those who may not have liked jazz before or since. The list, which will not include artists of the Kenny G. era, is a short one, and includes Krupa, Rich, Ramsey Lewis, Brubeck, Cannonball, Eddie Harris, Kenton and Goodman. In many cases, jazz critics past and present never forgave many of these artists for having hit records or for having appeal beyond three record reviewers who sit in a dark room. 

His 1978 hit recording of the theme from the movie, “Rocky,” entitled “Gonna Fly Now,” was a top ten seller and a Grammy nominee in 1978. It also represented the end of any serious, critical claim Maynard ever received. Then again, the critics never liked him, even in the days when his double high C’s dominated the Stan Kenton band of over 50 years ago. Critical comment through the years, which also applied to Maynard’s wonderful band of the late 1950s and early 1960s, included statements like: “He’s not playing jazz.” “He can’t play jazz.” He’s too loud.” “The band plays too loud.” “The band plays too fast.” “He’s just a modern day Harry James.” “He’s just a modern day Al Hirt.” “He’s just a modern day Doc Severinson.” “He plays too much rock.” “What is this electric nonsense?” 

For the past several years, he has been virtually ignored by the polls, and the jazz and music press, despite his substantial contributions to jazz education and that he was the last big band leader to be on the road regularly. Also not acknowledged was the fact that Ferguson’s bands through the years served as an undergraduate university and training ground for dozens of future jazz stars. This list, starting from the old days, includes players like Willie Maiden, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Ford, Lanny Morgan, Rufus Jones, Don Sebesky, Joe Zawinul, Jaki Byard, Don Menza, Frankie Dunlop, Carmen Leggio, Bill Watrous, Chick Corea (who subbed for Jaki Byard at Birdland!), Mike Abene, Ronnie McClure, Peter Erskine, Greg Bisonnette, Dennis DiBlasio and countless others. 

I was lucky enough to see the famed late 1950s/early 1960s band at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music in 1961. I learned to play drums by playing along to “At the Sound of the Trumpet” and “Frame For the Blues,” two Maynard tunes regularly played by Philadelphia radio personality and Ferguson booster Sid Mark. I saw the English band, the rock bands, and the bop band. Maynard was always moving, always inspiring, always the focal point of whatever was going on, no matter what musical style was being played. His playing, particularly his high note leads, made me feel as if I were on a roller-coaster, going down the first hill. I’m told he still had “it,” even at the age of 78. 

Maynard’s long time manager, Steve Schankman, could only say, “Someone just said, ‘Gabriel, over to second trumpet.’” Cornball? Maybe. But true. Kenton knew that Maynard had “it,” very early on. “Maynard,” he said. “Someday you’ll be king.” 

He was. And for much more than a day. 

In another recent and probable passing, this one corporate, word has come that Tower Records has declared bankruptcy. This comes as no surprise to those of us who have visited Tower in recent months and saw the chain’s once mighty stock dwindle and dwindle to no more than that of a rack jobbers’ at K-Mart. At its height, Tower had a superb selection of domestic and imported jazz CDs, a wonderful magazine section, and a great stock of jazz-oriented videos and DVDs. 

Certainly, most buying has moved online these days, but there was just something about having the chance to peruse, to relax, to browse through the selections, and to perhaps read some of the linear notes, that is missing from the online experience. However, no retailer could compete, in terms of stock, with an online retailer. It is indeed possible, sad to say, that the days of “record stores” of any size may be numbered. 

Potential buyers who haven’t visited great, great sites like and even, in a pinch,, will be very pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer and their superb service. 

As the newsreel said, “Time…marches on.” But why didn’t they ask me first?


Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Philadelphia is lucky in some ways. We have three clubs that regularly book name or semi-name jazz attractions. Chris’ Cafe’, Ortleibs Jazz House and Zanzibar Blue are to be commended on their policy, their consistency and dedication. The business of jazz, such as it is, just isn’t easy. Zanzibar Blue, in fact, is an instance where a venue has succeeded in spite of itself. Located with in the basement of one of Philadelphia’s grandest hotels, the former Bellevue-Stratford now the Park Hyatt, the club is comfortably appointed and serves really superior cuisine. The name acts are usually reserved for the weekend, and have included attractions like Maynard Ferguson, Little Jimmy Scott, Stacey Kent, Chris Connor, Steve Smith, Abbey Lincoln (who walked out because patrons made too much noise) and hundreds of others. Weekdays are reserved for Philadelphia area artists like drummer Webb Thomas, Barbara Walker and a host of regulars. Zanzibar has a built-in audience of well-heeled tourists who are staying in the hotel proper, as well as a number of dedicated Philadelphia jazz fans. 

The only strange thing about Zanzibar is what could be best described as the “vibe.” There’s an air of rudeness and superiority there, and that just breeds unpleasantness. I think they used to call something like this “feeling a draft.” I’ve felt it everytime I’ve walked in there. On more than one occasion, I talked to their booking folks about putting my group, along with singer Joy Adams, in there on an off-night weeknight. We didn’t even want any money, so this is not a case of sour grapes related to “not getting the gig, rather, we just wanted to perform in a space where our “fans” could hear us in pleasant surroundings. After a dozen calls, I continued to be ignored. I once asked a prominent Philadelphia radio personality why we could never get booked at Zanzibar, or Chris’ or Orliebs. Certainly, we’ve only been around as pretty top attractions for 30 years, to say nothing of the international prominence I’ve received via my books and videos. What was the problem? Said radio personality, who incidently is black, said with some shame in his voice, “Bruce. You’ll never get booked in those places. You don’t get down with the brothers.” 

Okay. Knew I was feeling something. 

Several months ago, our good friend Steve Smiith snared an appearance at Zanzibar with his fusion group, Vital Information. Steve asked me to help out with some advance promo, given that I was centered in Philadelphia. An e-mailing of close to 1,000 press releases went out, extolling the virtues of Steve Smith as a drummer, the Vital Information group, and the wonderful food and ambience of Zanzibar Blue. Some of you may have received that press release several months ago. The night of the performance, I was a bit taken a back that no one from Zanzibar Blue stepped forward to thank me for the work done on behalf of Vital info and Zanzibar. 

I e-mailed them about this several days later. Though they received copies of all the press releases and mailings done for Vital Information, they claimed to know nothing about it. However, I was surprised to hear back from them, saying that they were most grateful for my efforts. They insisted that Joy Adams and I be their guest for dinner and a show of our choosing. We chose July 14, early show, to hear the one and only Maynard Ferguson. In fact, we postponed our trip to Florida in order to hear Maynard. 

Checking to confirm that all was well reservations-wise the day before, II was startled to receive an e-mail from Zanzibar’s “Director of Operations,” claiming there was no reservation in my name. I replied immediately, saying that II was the person who did PR for Steve Smith and Zanzibar, that Zanzibar made me this offer, etc. Starting in the early morning of July 14th, I repeatedly e-mailed the Director of Operations and called about a half-dozen times with no reply whatsoever. Unprofessional doesn’t begin to describe this scenario, and my only thought was, “I’m too old for this nonsense. No way will I subject us to this vibe.” 

I waited until almost 4 p.m. for a return call. If we had actually decided to go, we would have had less than an hour to get ready. We still heard from no one. That’s when I decided to e-mail the Director of Operations and tell her about her gross unprofessionalism, how deeply I had been insulted, just who I was–again– and that I planned to write a column on the web site about this insulting experience. 

Bingo. The old column trick. That usually does it. At 4:25 in the afternoon, I received a phone call from the Director of Operations, who informed me of the following: That the person who made this reservation for me no longer worked there and never put the reservation in the system; that if I told her who I was (which I did after getting her first e-mail) that she would have instantly known that I had a reservation; that she broke her toe this morning; that she doesn’t sit in front of the computer all day. And, contrarary to my assertion about Zanzibar Blue’s legendary rudeness, she said she has never heard a complaint about anything from guests or performers (she has now). I asked her what she wanted me to do at this point. She said, “Come to the show.” I replied that I wouldn’t walk through Zanzibar Blue if it were the last place in the galaxy and Sinatra was appearing, and I don’t mean Frank Junior. She had nothing to say about ignoring my various e-mails and telephone calls made throughout the day, prior to the “I’m going to write a column: e-mail. . Perhaps it was the broken toe. 

Did I take this personally? Perhaps. I felt I was being regarded as a liar and as someone who was after a dinner. They made the offer, and they discovered that there was, indeed, a reservation made on my behalf. It was made through the PR Director, subsequently fired, and supposedly was never entered into the system. In other words, “The dog ate my homework.” You want to go to Zanzibar Blue? Go ahead. Have a ball. I won’t see you there. The only thing I’m sorry about is not seeing Maynard. Close to 80 years old now and still swinging, he’s the last of the old guard to be on the road year-round. He has been virtually ignored by the jazz press for the past several years, which is an absolute disgrace. He has never been forgiven, evidently, for having a hit record (“Gonna Fly Now,” theme from the movie “Rocky”). And owing to Zanzibar Blue’s crack publicity team, not word one–excepting a tiny listing–in terms of a newspaper article appeared about this giant. Still, Philadelphians have always been great Maynard fans, and no doubt the joint will be packed. Maynard, God bless him, always got down with the brothers. 

Through the years, some of the true legends of jazz have called Philadelphia home. There were and are dozens of them. Sadly, we just lost three fine, fine players in rapid succession, and though they were never in the national spotlight, they could and should have been. Singer Clyde Terrell had a taste of the limelight, via his vocal on Earl Bostic’s “September Song.” Mostly, though, he sang locally and always soulfully in a style that combined influences of Johnny Hartman and Arthur Prysock. No one could sing so well so slowly. The two CDs he made, late in life, for the DBK Jazz label were superb and garnered substantial radio play. Joy Adams and I were instrumental in getting Clyde this long overdue recording contract, and we hope and trust it gave him some joy late in life. 

Pianist Eric Spiegel, also known as Eric Shaw, had a tremendous respect for the jazz tradition and was particularly fluent in the language of be-bop. For some years, he was a part of a duo here in Philadelphia, the second half being the great jazz singer, Wendy Simon. They were first called Tuxedo Junction and later, 52nd Street. Their eclectic repertoire included everything from King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson, to Jackie and Roy, and Lambert Hendricks and Ross. Eric and Wendy were poised to break out on the national scene, but as often happens, it never came to be. Spiegel later had a terrible, terrible auto accident and suffered severe brain injuries. Still, he worked hard in rehab and came back playing better than ever. He will be missed. 

Warren Davis, Jr. was an Episcopal Minister who I’d best describe as “the best preacher who ever preached” and/or “the best minister who ever ministered.” Additionally, he was a superb jazz pianist of the Teddy Wilson school who performed extensively in the Philadelphia, particularly at a number of Jazz Vespers concerts, a form of jazz presentation which he helped invent and popularize. Along with his regular cohorts, bassist Vince Long (who started at “square one” on bass several years ago and is well on his way now to becoming world class) , vocalist Joe Richardson, and often, guitarist Ron Parker, “The Gabriels” brought much joy to all who heard them. Though mainly playing in the swing vein, Warren’s ears were more than open enough to embrace every form of jazz, from be-bop to Ornette.And certainly, he loved the Duke. Had he wanted to, there’s no reason he couldn’t have been a national name. More importantly, he was the kindest and gentlest of men, who was open minded in matters other than music. Having come from a different religious persuasion than Warren, we had many, many discussions about the power and place of faith and religion. We decided–perhaps after a glass of wine or two–that there should be a religion that was similar to jazz. Our contention was that jazz was always open to all races, religions, ages, nationalities, etc., and that there should be a religion much the same as that. Hence, the invention of “The Sign of the Circle,” complete with secret “sign” (the sign was one hand making a circle) and business cards. I guess God needed a player who could play the heck out of “Sweet Lorriane,” without any alternate changes. I can think of no other reason for his absence here. Had Joy Adams not had a terrible slip and fall accident, complete with fractured and cracked ribs, we would have been front and center at the memorial. I’m sure Warren understands. He always did. Joy, your many friends, listeners and fans, and yours truly will miss you more than you may know, although depending on where you are, I’m sure you know!! 

In terms of some odds and ends, we will be travelling to Naples, FL, for a few weeks, beginning Tuesday, July 18th. It’s the birthday of our grand daughter, Niah Sage; and the graduation of the best web master who ever web mastered, Terry McKyton. Terry , by the way is receiving his Master’s Degree from the prestigious Stanton University (seriously, there is no Stanton, but his degree will be granted from one of Florida’s best). For our mail-order customers, from July 18th until further notice, probably about two or three weeks, please send any orders to: Bruce Klauber, 1108 Forrest Lakes Boulevard, Naples, FL, 34105. 

In line with updates, most of you are aware that Gene Krupa appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, ca. 1960, once or twice. We are doing everything possible to get those clips out of the vaults. The Sullivan heirs aren’t easy–read that “really, really, big”–but we’re trying. 

Finally, please feel free to comment on this column, other columns, or anything else you may have on your mind. You’re obviously doing this–fabulously, by the way–in The Forum, but if you’d like to earmark anything for publication in this space or even write a guest column, e-mail me directly at 

God bless our dear, swinging friends, Reverend Warren Davis, Jr., Eric Spiegel and Clyde Terrell. May you keep swingin’ for eternity and beyond. 

Bruce Klauber

An Issue of Quality

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

It’s pretty obvious that many of you are great fans of Tony Williams. That’s for good reason. He was an innovator and contributor of the highest order. Technically, not too many good equal him. Versatility? He was fluent and at ease with jazz, fusion, rock and all other combinations of those three. 

The good folks at Hudson Music and yours truly have been working on producing a documentary DVD on Tony’s life and music, but the Williams family just won’t go for it right now. As a matter of fact, the last Zildjian Lifetime Achievement Award given to Steve Gadd was actually supposed to go to Tony Williams. Again, the Williams family nixed it, saying that “the time wasn’t right.” Sadly, time is running out. The longer these giants go unrecognized, the quicker they will be forgotten. Making the matter of Tony Williams even more complex is that there just isn’t that much quality video material out there. Tony’s fans know it, and perhaps that’s just one reason why the “Tony Williams Live in New York” is such a popular title. 

It has a rather checkered history. It was released on a laser disc in Japan around 1990 and then withdrawn from release. was fortunate enough to get a copy some years ago and later offer it on VHS video and DVD. There have been quality problems with this title. At least half of the DVDs that have gone out have been defective in some way, shape or form. There have been picture “freeze-ups” and other difficulties that can occur on any DVD, but the main complaint has been that the audio and the video are, quite simply, out-of-sync. That just won’t do. 

We were lucky enough to obtain another copy of the laser disc from Japan, and it is in very good condition, but still not without problems. Maybe there are physical defects on these things and/or that the signals on the disc itself just don’t hold up after 17 years. After all, there’s got to be a reason why laser discs didn’t take the world by storm. And evidently, these laser discs were encoded with some kind of crude form of “Macrovision,” so they couldn’t be duped. It is simply impossible, at least within our means, to totally remove whatever signal that is. 

The good news is that now, the audio quality is absolutely superb and absolutely in synch. The only slight imperfections have to do with the video portion. Now and then, you’ll see some very, very faint lines on the picture. And there are four, count ’em, instances where there are picture drop outs. Two are of one-second duration. The other two are at about 2.5 to 3.0 seconds in duration. All and all, this is pretty darn good in terms of a quest for perfection. 

We’ve just gotten in another Tony title, recorded in France in 1990 by the same band that appears on “Tony Williams Live in New York.” Additionally, we are considering the release of a wild 1972 session, a duo of Tony and Jan Hammer. The quality is just “good” on this, so we’re still in the “consideration” phase. 

Later this week, look for some exciting Gene Krupa “discoveries,” including the actual jam sessions held in Benny Goodman’s apartment in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Carnegie Hall concert; actual “synched-up” footage of Gene with the Goodman band of 1943; additional footage of Gene at the Metropole in 1967 and most of the remainder of the famed “Anatomy of Pop” tv special of the late 1960s, and other newsreel footage of Art Tatum, Dave Tough, Billy Taylor, Duke Elllington and many more. Keep swingin’ until next time. 

Bruce Klauber

Rich Am I

Friday, May 26th, 2006

This will constitute the final public comments on the unfortunate Buddy Rich matter. Though I have apologized to the involved parties personally and on the Buddy Rich web site, I felt it all together fitting proper to make a statement on the web site. 

I was wrong and I was in error. It’s that simple. Many of you supported me during the terrible year I’ve had in line with my mothers’ terminal illness, and the trauma that I went through during this time clouded my judgment in a number of areas. This was one area, and I cannot tell you how sorry I am. 

Certainly, not everyone is in agreement as to how Cathy Rich and Steve Arnold are handling the release of Buddy Rich material. Most of the Buddy fans, to be sure, would just love to see everything in existence out there on the market. But that’s not how things work. You try it! 

It is important to remember that without Cathy Rich and Steve Arnold, there would be no “Wham,” no “No Funny Hats,” no “At the Top,” no “Montreal Jazz Festival,” no “Lost Tapes,” no Pacific Jazz reissues with previously unreleased material, no “Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship” projects, no “Burnin’ For Buddy,” no “Buddy Rich Jazz Legend” video, no “Buddy’s Buddies” with Steve Smith, and no official Buddy Rich web site. I’ve probably missed a few things here and there, as I’m pretty certain that Cathy and Steve were involved with the recent Verve reissues of “Buddy and Sweets” and “Blues Caravan,” and the superb Mosaic boxed set of wonderful 1950s and 1960s material. 

These items alone constitute a rather large treasure trove of essential material that simply would not be in existence if it were not for Cathy and Steve. 

I would ask all of you who have made negative remarks in line with this hurtful situation to stop. For all of us who continue to appreciate the music of Buddy Rich, it is important to understand that Cathy Rich is the only “conduit,” for lack of a better word, to the man. And therefore it must be nurtured, preserved and appreciated. Cathy Rich and Steve Arnold were not wrong. I was. 

Bruce Klauber


Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Lou Rawls, who died today at the age of 72, was a wonderful artist and a great human being. Though never a jazz singer, per se, though he recorded with a number of giants through the years, and helped introduce millions of people to jazz who might not have listened to it otherwise. The presumption is that if folks felt that “Lou Rawls was a jazz singer” then jazz “has to be good.” He opened the doors for singers and instrumentalists like George Benson and dozens of others, never misrepresented his talents, and while he did experience the hit records, “You’ll Never Find” among them, I don’t believe he ever subverted his talent for the sake of sales. 

His work on behalf of the United Negro College Fund was legendary, and if memory serves, only Lou Rawls was able to get a certain Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra to appear on the then fledgling UNCF telethon, only a struggling syndicated operation at that point. Such was the charm and the talent of Lou Rawls. 

He had almost a reassuring voice, some would say maybe an outgrowth of King Cole and Billy Eckstine, with none of the excesses that we hear—okay, I hear—of today’s alleged, jazz and jazz oriented singers, male and female. 

Lou Rawls, to his credit, was pretty much free from scandal and the gossip column and tabloid mongers through the years. He must be one of the few. On a personal basis, and that’s the only way I’m able to measure a man accurately, I can report that Lou Rawls was quite special. 

He was performing in the main room of Atlantic City’s famed Golden Nugget, circa 1984. This was during the “golden age, “ at least entertainment-wise, of Atlantic City. It’s difficult today to realize that it existed. Think of it: the main stages were populated by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Don Rickles, Steve and Eydie, Vic Damone, Eddie Fisher, Diana Ross, Al Martino, George Carlin, Alan King, Shecky Greene, and yes, Lou Rawls. But the real action, for those “in the know,” was in the lounges. It was unbelievable , as this “free” lounge entertainment included talents like Keely Smith, Chris Connor, Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Red Norvo, Buddy Greco, Billy Eckstine, Billy Daniels, Joanie Sommers, Sam Butera and The Wildest, Dakota Staton, Frankie Randall (also the Nugget’s Entertainment Directoror) and dozens of others. Incredible. You should have been there. 

I had a wonderful association with Atlantic City back then, both playing in the lounges with the likes of vocalists Connie Lesem, Sonny Averona, Joy Adams and my own combinations; as well as writing a regular column for Atlantic City Magazine, entitled “Backstage.” What a time. 

At this particular time, I had become enamored, and there is no better word, of one of the female singers working the Golden Nugget Lounge. Trying to make an impression and win her over, I became something of her gopher/messenger/pr person/major domo, be it carrying her music, rehearsing the band, running interference with the front office, etc. I had no idea of how much I was embarrassing myself. 

That’s when Lou Rawls stepped in. One fine evening at the conclusion of all the Golden Nugget Lounge show, circa 2 a.m., yours truly was waiting, outside the lounge with hat in hand, truly dejected, and with said singers’ music in my other hand. It appeared, literally and figuratively, that I had been left holding the proverbial bag while Ms. Big Time Lounge Singer was off to party with the big wigs. And who should appear out of thin air at that moment? Lou Rawls. 

“You don’t need this, kid,” Lou said to me. “You’re a talent in your own right; playing here, writing your column. I’m telling you not to do this. You’re bringing yourself down. Get rid of her, man.” 

“How did you know what’s going down?” I asked Lou. 

“Everyone can see it,” he replied, “and Frankie Randall asked me to talk to you.” 

Things changed after that. Atlantic City has never been the same. Nor have I. It was a magic time. People cared about entertainment then. People cared about people then. Lou Rawls took the time to talk to a sad, lovesick youngster and set him straight. 

And Lou, it worked. May you rest—and keep swinging soulfully—in peace. 

In other assorted matters, on behalf of Joy, Judy, my brother Joel and yours truly, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the condolences and good wishes we’ve received from all over world on behalf of the late, great, Frances Klauber. She was and will always will be a one of a kind. 

The good people from one of this world’s most stellar record labels, Mosaic, have released an astounding boxed set of Buddy Rich’s small group work for Verve and Argo from the early 1950s through the early 1960s. We will be writing about this in detail shortly, but let it be said that this among Buddy Rich’s most important and inventive work. Though he was known at the quintessential big band drummer, BR’s work with small groups–especially his own–has been overlooked for years. This is a must have. 

Bruce Klauber


Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Frances Klauber, singer, dancer, recording artist and ASCAP executive, lost the long fight against pancreatic cancer two weeks ago, Sunday. Her last days were spent singing and jamming with her sons, Bruce and Joel, and daughters-in-law, Joy Adams and Judith Ross, at the Bryn Mawr Terrace nursing home. We thank each and every one of you for your prayers and good wishes through these difficult months. Please be aware that each and every order–and we hope there are thousands more–will be fulfilled in due time, one by one. Your support, kind words, encouragement, understanding and compassion were and are most sincerely appreciated. We will never forget it. 

Bruce Klauber