Unforgettable

jazz larger

This old newspaper ad proves to me that I can find virtually anything I want on the internet these days.

A cherished memory for me is this jazz concert in Central Park that my parents took me to when I was 14, my first such event. It was at night, “Under the Stars,” and was hosted, imagine!, by Jean Shepherd, a radio personality whose eccentric nightly story-telling show was my favorite, and one I would never miss. Jean Shepherd was my man.

I was a young jazz buff, and just look at that lineup! Lionel Hampton with his big band, the George Shearing quintet, the Dave Brubeck quartet, the Erroll Garner trio and, impossibly, Lady Day, the legendary Billie Holiday!!! This was near the end of her life, and the roar of the capacity crowd when she was introduced was ear-splitting, and unforgettable. Such adulation being poured upon a human being was totally outside my experience, and instilled in me the deepest respect for greatness. I still remember the dress she wore.

Had my parents done nothing else nice for me my entire lifetime, this event would have been enough.

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