Saturday, June 27, 2009

Music as a career - Part 2

Giving up

for busking


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Charlie Mariano, saxophonist, musical sojourner

Charlie Mariano, the Boston-born saxophonist who gained world renown as a performer with his former wife, Toshiko Akiyoshi; Stan Kenton; and Charles Mingus, among many others, died yesterday at Mildred Scheel Hospiz in Cologne, Germany, his longtime home. Mr. Mariano, who had battled cancer for years, was 85.

“He was the dean of Boston jazz musicians,’’ says jazz impresario George Wein, a Boston native who resides in New York and was a colleague and friend of Mr. Mariano’s since the 1940s. “Charlie was a wanderer, and he left his mark wherever he went.’’

Born Carmine Ugo Mariano in 1923, he was weaned on his father’s beloved Italian operas and the big bands he heard on the radio: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, whose saxophonist Lester Young became Mr. Mariano’s first musical hero. He would not get his own saxophone until his 18th birthday, but in short order, the ambitious young musician was playing nightly at Izzy Ort’s bar and dance hall in what was then known as Boston’s combat zone, for $19 a week.

Mr. Mariano was drafted in 1943, but never saw combat. He was tapped to play in one of the several small music ensembles that entertained at officers’ clubs. Near the end of the war, Mr. Mariano, who was stationed on an air base north of Los Angeles, heard Charlie Parker play live for the first time, during Parker’s first West Coast gig, at Billy Berg’s jazz club in Hollywood.

“He completely turned my head,’’ Mr. Mariano said of Parker in “Tears of Sound,’’ a 1993 biography of Mr. Mariano published in Germany. Taken with the sax great’s inventive harmonics, newfangled rhythmic figures, and breakneck tempos, “I chased Bird’s sound, his way of phrasing. I listened to his solos on recordings for hours, wrote them down, and played it.’’

As it was for many alto saxophonists, Mr. Mariano found his muse and musical foundation in Parker’s ground-breaking sound. After leaving the Army in 1945, he drifted to Chicago, then Albuquerque, picking up work where he could, and finally wound up back in Boston. When the big-band era began winding down and many local clubs were closed, the largely self-taught Mr. Mariano enrolled in music school for the first time, at the Schillinger House of Music, which would later be renamed Berklee College of Music.


More in Boston Globe... 

More by Tim Price (Charlie Mariano and Osmosis)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Music as a career

Music is no rocket science, but…

skill vs. fame

…more demanding than performing in a porn flick.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jim and Suzy in Helsinki

Helsinki, I missed Harri!

By Jim Glass

Late last night Harri, a Finn and the owner of the SOTW, pinged me on Facebook to see if we could have a breakfast or drinks tomorrow morning when we arrive in Helsinki. I let him know we might be able to make that happen, but didn't hear back. In the morning, for the first time since we started the cruise, all three of us overslept waking up after 10 AM!

So I quickly tried to get online to see what arrangements had been made, but the Internet connection was tenuous at best. An hour and twenty minutes later I found out Harri had been at a restaurant that was not to be at. Sigh, oh well we tried.


The first part of our tour was a visit to the great architect Saarinen (father of the famous American architect) country villa and study. Such an interesting space with so many architectural delights some of which I captured. Even if it is just doors, they are so nicely done.

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And his art, drawings, and use of color was of interest.

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Then we toured the city and headed back to the ship.

Pictures courtesy of Jim Glass

The above trip report was filed by Jim Glass. He is former moderator and chief administrator of the . Jim lives with his wife Suzy in Seattle, Wash. and is an active saxophone player in several bands in the area. Also known as a saxophone collector.