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TitleA Jazz Life - John Klopotowski
Tags Performing Arts Pop Culture Elements Of Music
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Table of Contents
                            The West End
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Dedications

This work is first dedicated to my longtime friend and mentor, the jazz bassist Sonny Dallas. I could never

repay Sonny for what he gave me, and it is safe to say that most of what you are about to read could not

have happened without him.

On the subject of “could not have happened without” I also pay tribute to my parents, Henry and Edith. I

think it’s an even safer statement that neither of them could ever have imagined a work like this emerging

from our family. Nevertheless, here it is Mom and Dad, and thanks for everything.

My last dedication is to the future, and specifically to my sons Frank and John David: I hope that your

individual journeys will be as interesting as mine has been so far, and that you each find your voice and

learn to use it wisely.

Also, with personal thanks to Safford Chamberlain, Charles Coffman, and above all Jack Goodwin for his

friendship and support. I encourage all readers to visit the website that Jack has created with information

and news regarding Warne: http://www.warnemarsh.info

And of course, to Warne Marsh. Thank you again man, I am forever in your debt.

© 2005/2006/2007/2008/2009 by John Klopotowski, all rights reserved

Table of Contents

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http://www.warnemarsh.info/

Page 114

The specific recording under discussion is Warne’s performance on the 1953 Metronome

All-Stars recording. Phil gives all the pertinent details (anyone familiar with him will

realize what an understatement that is!), but what is interesting to me is that I didn’t

actually hear the recording for the first time until I asked Jack Goodwin in 1999 if he

would share a copy of the broadcast with me. I did know of this particular segment

though because Bob Keller asked at the time if I was familiar with a 16-bar solo that

Warne had played on “How High the Moon” with the Metronome All-Stars. I replied

that I wasn’t and he said that Phil made the broadcast unusual in that he repeated the solo

several times over so as to enhance comprehension and appreciation. So I didn’t hear this

segment when it was first done, but have listened to the solo many times over since then.

excerpt, Warne Marsh memorial broadcast, Phil Schaap, host, WKCR-FM, December 1987

One final point about the actual recording: I heard many years later that when Warne

finished playing Lester Young leaned over to him and whispered in his ear: “yeah Prez.”

(He would often refer to others as “Prez.”) Warne never forgot that and treasured the

memory.

Safford Chamberlain

1988 brought significant changes in my life: Leslie and I separated permanently in

March, and after spending much time thinking it over I decided to move to San Francisco

that June. Soon after arriving I settled on living in a studio apartment near the Pacific

Heights neighborhood, and stayed there for over four years. At that time I was aware that

I had lived in seven different apartments in the prior ten years, so even though my studio

was small it was still a welcome place to establish some stability after the turbulence that

I had been through. The rent was comparable to my teaching studio in Port Jefferson, and

I thought then that had I decided to move to Manhattan the rent for a similar studio would

have been at least three times as much.

I was in my apartment one day in the summer of 1991 when the phone rang, and the

voice on the other end introduced himself as Safford Chamberlain. Safford said that he

was a saxophonist and writer from LA who had studied with Warne, and that he was

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http://www.divshare.com/direct/11428102-576.mp3

Page 115

writing a book about him and wondered if he could speak with me. I asked how he had

gotten my number and he replied that he had heard about me through my “ex-wife’s

husband”! That piece of information was a shock, so I asked him to provide more details.

He went on to say that he played in a regular rehearsal band in LA and one night was

talking with the pianist about his book project on Warne (which was in the very early

stages). The pianist mentioned that his wife’s ex-husband (it was clear to me that he was

referring to Leslie) was a jazz guitarist who had studied and played with Warne in New

York. Safford asked if he could get my phone number, which Leslie supplied. His call

surprised me in several ways – that Leslie was remarried, that someone was writing a

biography of Warne, that somehow they had crossed paths, that she had shared my

information with Safford, and that I was actually speaking with him. Once I had digested

what he was telling me one of my first responses was that I was very happy that someone

was doing a book on Warne. I also mentioned that I had thought many times of

documenting my story in some sort of book form for several reasons: my experiences

reminded me of some classic master/apprentice stories but more importantly this was due

to Warne’s skills both as a jazz teacher and thinker, and his connection to and concern for

his students. In my mind his activities as a jazz teacher were largely unknown but on a

level of excellence equal to his playing and recordings. But my idea to write it all down

was just that – an idea. Safford mentioned that if possible he would like to meet and

asked if he could come to San Francisco to interview me, and I readily agreed.

I was also aware at that time of another book that was being written about Warne, and I

had heard of it through Susan Chen. She had mentioned that there was an Australian

writer by the name of Mursalin Cornelius who had contacted her and was actively

soliciting stories and information regarding Warne. She gave me his address and as I

recall I did correspond with him around that time. Given the distance he asked if I could

supply in writing or on cassette anything I cared to tell him about my time with Warne. I

decided to turn on a cassette recorder and speak my recollections, but after listening to

some of my first attempt I decided against participating. Once I had listened to the tape I

imagined Warne’s reaction and in my projection of his response he was not happy. In

relative terms it was really not all that long since his death and he was still very much

with me. I suppose I always remembered his reaction to the book that Sonny proposed

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Page 228

1 IT’S YOU OR NO ONE 8:58
2 I CRIED FOR YOU 9:08
3 BACKGROUND MUSIC 2:43
4 TIME ON MY HANDS 7:00
5 317 EAST 32ND. STREET 8:12
6 WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE 6:04
7 GEE BABY, AIN'T I GOOD TO YOU 7:02
8 JOY SPRING 8:43
9 EASY LIVING 5:56
10 AFTER YOU’VE GONE 6:20
11 SONNYMOON FOR TWO 8:01


87-1215 WARNE MARSH.
Van Nuys, CA., December 15, 1987.

Warne Marsh, ts; solo improvisations.

1 INTRODUCTION 2:24
2 STATEMENT 1 5:01
3 STATEMENT 2 8:44
4 STATEMENT 3 6:00
5 STATEMENT 4 3:51
6 STATEMENT 5 2:28

all CD JAZZBANK/Archives MTCJ-1050 (Jap)

The following is a Los Angeles newspaper extract published just after the event:

Warne Marsh (died 18 December 1987).

This jazz saxophonist died of heart attack after collapsing onstage while giving a performance at
Donte's in North Hollywood. According to another member of the quartet, Marsh "just slipped

off his stool." He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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