Apr 22, 2010 Guest Columns
A ‘Blues Walk’ in NYC…
“Lou Donaldson at the Vanguard on Tuesday April 6th, 2010 was one of the best sets I’ve seen there in a while and well worth the long drive down to NYC from Ottawa. The first set began with Lou’s theme song Blues Walk and escalated through a series of standards and into Alligator Boogaloo from there. He was accompanied by Randy Johnston on guitar, Pat Bianchi on the organ, and Fukushi Tainaka on the drums… It didn’t stop there, Dr. Lonnie Smith dropped in to pay his respects for the second set, along with a quick cameo by Roy Hargrove, and a few vocals by singer Champion Fulton. Definitely worth the trip. Although Lonnie seems to think I owed him money from the last time he was in Canada. Don’t ask me why !
As for the rest of the trip, I did manage to drop in on Rudy Van Gelder at his fabled studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., on the way out Wednesday morning. That’s the studio in the picture above. Rudy wanted
copies of a few photos I had, so I arranged to drop them off in person while I was in town… He wasn’t sure he would be there, but he showed up shortly after I pulled into his drive! (Perfect timing) He was between appointments so he showed me around his studio quickly, took the time to discuss the architectural significance of his studio and just before he kicked me out so he could have lunch before his next appointment we took a photo together, and he signed an autograph. (Shameless I know… but it is Rudy Van Gelder after all, right?) I did ask him about his record collection, but the answer was not the one I had hoped. He has a collection, but not as many as one would expect. He said they didn’t always give him copies of the ones he recorded. He is a Jazz fan, but not a collector/archivist of his own work apparently… I asked him if he had designed any special storage on site for his records/archive, but again I was a little disappointed to hear that he just stores them upright on a shelf. Nothing to write home about. It’s a very modest place in reality, but you could really feel the history there. Sadly, I get the feeling he isn’t as busy these days as he lets on, so it seems a bit sad to see this recording legend puttering around his famous studio preparing for a recording session that may not really be happening. But who knows, right?