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Jazz Showcase, Stu Katz and Days Gone By (October 4, 2015)

Jazz Showcase, Stu Katz, and Days Gone By

The display is of 15 of the thousands of show posters that have come from Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase for 68 years (so far). It's hard for me to imagine that when I went there for the first time the summer I graduated high school in 1977, in its Happy Medium basement location on Rush Street, Segal had been doing this for 30 years already. Now the Showcase, through all its addresses, is pushing 70, and Joe will be 90 in April of 2016. Two of the acts I heard that summer are in these posters -- Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers (my first time at the Showcase and, really, at a jazz club, without parental accompaniment anyway, thanks to Marvin Chandler, my high school class mate, alto saxonphonist and friends with Wayne Segal, Joe's son). It was Blakey's version of the Messengers with with Bobby Watson and David Schnitter; their current LP was Backgammon which I bought right from Blakey's hands after he assured me it was the same band I was hearing that night -- "Yeah, yeah, they're all on there," he said impatiently. The following week, I went back for the Ahmad Jamal trio (his new LP was "One"). This was the display at the Showcase yesterday, October 4, 2015. I think, literally, everybody has played at the Jazz Showcase, at least since 1947. I guess that leaves out Bix Beiderbeck and Jelly Roll Morton. That's about it.

Joe STILL comes out and introduces the sets, and talks up the Sunday matinee to expose kids to great music to try and combat the wave of "garbage" (I think that was last night's epithet, or maybe crap) that assaults them every day. He was doing the same thing in 1977! Joe is one soldier who will go with his boots a'boppin'. 

And what better way to hear music at the Showcase (or anywhere else) than with long-time close friends Penny and Stu Katz. I got to know Stu through Penny, his wife and fellow mediator when I first joined the mediation department in 1988. Stu has divided his life between real estate law and jazz piano and vibes, and has played with everybody over the years -- yesterday, we were talking about just some of the drummers he's played with -- Lenny White, Philly Joe Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, Gene Krupa, and on and on. Listening to trumpeter Sean Jones' Quartet (pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Obed Calvaire) yesterday with them was a rare treat, and not just because they treated!

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