On Tuesday night we gathered, thank you JFA, at the historic Bogardus Mansion on 75 Murray Street in Tribeca. The house, built in 1850 by James Bogardus, the originator of cast-iron architecture, is elegant—a reminder that folks really used to live like that. It was a grand reunion, nice to have a large gathering of all of our friends. And it wasn't a memorial service or funeral—just joyful, joyful.
Fine music by Gabriel Johnson and the Micah Gaugh Sextet. Trumpet players were everywhere. Drinks and stories, new and old, volunteers to help the JFA. They were organized by Sandy Jordan, the widow of Cliff Jordan, the great composer and jazz tenor sax man. Cliff was a real jazz musician and a character to be sure. He wore spats, played great and lived a jazz life that one reads about.
Harold Mabern, from my favorite Miles Davis band was there. Harold is from Memphis. So many fine musicians come from Memphis including George Coleman, Keno Duke and Marvin Stamm. George Coleman and Harold Mabern were in the Miles Davis band together. I call it the “Four and More" band.
Harold Mabern and Ann Ruckert
I think about the Queen’s silver anniversary, such a to-do. Hell, our royalty is Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis. I think we should be so proud to give the world such a gift. These were not folks who were born to the manner, as they say—they earned our love and thanks for making the world a better place through their music.
We make a stamp to honor Miles Davis and it gets a small hooray from the Jazz Foundation, when it should be honored with parades and fly-overs and music filling the streets and while our musicians are alive. We should let them know that we honor them. It is the highest calling there is—heals more than doctors, is more spiritual than a priest and brings love to each one who hears music.
The first thing we hear is a lullaby. Miles Davis in a harmon mute is a comforting lullaby. Anne Phillips and her husband, Bob Kindred, were there. She wrote that famous Jazz Nativity that featured Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton, Ron Carter and others—all jazz greats.
The Jazz Nativity was our family ritual—my children grew up on it and it made Christmas about love and peace. Got the focus off presents. The gifts were music—and our own classical music—jazz.
Our very special innovator was Miles Davis. Is the best we can do is a postage stamp? How about a parade, a park, a statue or a larger than a silver jubilee? I think I will listen to “Sketches of Spain" and then rinse out my head.
I am ordering several sheets of this stamp. One reason is it’s hard to get these things. The post office says they don't sell well, so order them while they are in stock.