Take Five

16 Oct

No, I never liked the West Coast Jazz thing. But still, every time I hear that Brubeck tune it gets stuck in my head for days. Only Charlie Parker or Coltrane can get it out. But no, I never liked the hot jazz or cool jazz or… Yea, give me the hard boppers definitely. But anyway, I met Art Pepper in 1980 at Musso and Frank’s on Hollywood Boulevard. I was…hey, did you ever hear the famous story about Musso’s? Legend has it that Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, and Douglas Fairbanks raced each other down Hollywood Boulevard on horseback, the loser having to pick up the dinner tab at Musso & Frank’s. Isn’t that something? I don’t know who won. Anyway, Art Pepper, yea. So…yea. This was when he was living in Echo Park and his book had just come out. I think…anyway. Just before he died. I was living on DeLongpre and working in a Chinese restaurant, there right behind the McCoogall’s Slaughterhouse. Anyway yea so, actually I went in to Musso and Frank’s to see about a line cook job. Art Pepper was at the bar with Shelly Manne and Jimmy Giuffre. I think Junior Mance was there, but I don’t remember so good. Anyway. Yea so, while I’m waiting for the waiter to take me back…John Hellman was the chef then, I think. I think Rue had died a couple years before, but anyway. I’m waiting for the guy to take me back to meet Hellman and Pepper’s there with them guys…yea, and so I’m easedroppin’, right? ‘Cause Pepper’s talking about his time in San Quentin in ’64 or…maybe ’65, but yea. So anyway, the joint, right? I’m easedroppin’. And then the guy calls me in the back there and I walk by and Pepper turns to me and says: If you’re gonna use the crapper kid, go across the street to Macdonalds ’cause Jesse and Edith’s got some punk hog-tied up in the gents. Everybody laughed. I didn’t ask anything or why or…but I figured if it was true, the guy probably wanted to skip out on the bill or something, or he stole something. I don’t know…I like to think it was true, somehow. But I can’t be for sure. It’s like that Charlie Chaplin legend, I guess. Anyway, that was Art Pepper and them guys having drinks. I didn’t get the job though.

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8 Responses to “Take Five”

  1. chapman 16/10/2008 at 10:41 AM #

    I do NOT know how you come up with stuff like this!
    You probably don’t watch South Park and neither do I, but a friend made me watch this episode and where they parodied Family Guy for the whole 2-part episode. I know just enough about both shows to get why it’s funny. They pinned down the “secret” to how Family Guy writers get their scripts.
    I could almost see it in this piece. You have a whole tank full of balls with the names of jazz musicians, old actors, street names and restaurants with a bunch of totally random nouns to spice things up (ie. horse). Then you pull the lever and the tank spits a bunch of balls out and you have Tony Bennett, drunk on the couch, free-associate all the subject matter on the balls into one cohesive story. Have I got it?

  2. (S)wine 16/10/2008 at 10:51 AM #

    It’s a by-product of senility. May I steal this and use it in my queries to Agents and Publishers to “formally” or “officially” describe what/how I write? You know, those queries I never send anymore because the price of postage has skyrocketed astronomically? Thank you.

  3. momentofchoice 16/10/2008 at 6:02 PM #

    LOL i loooooooooooove it.

  4. Geoff 16/10/2008 at 7:18 PM #

    I read this, and I am reminded of Bukowski.

    Bukowski would have his own take on the story, of course (with added profanity in abundance, yes) … just as your style is “your style,” so I don’t mean to diminish anything.

    In short, and simply put: another great piece of writing, A.

  5. (S)wine 16/10/2008 at 8:10 PM #

    Thanks Geoff. It does have some of that vibe too. I think Chapman up there nailed it, though.

  6. beige 17/10/2008 at 1:17 AM #

    Thank you, (S)wine, now I have it in my head.

    Mingus! Stat!

  7. (S)wine 17/10/2008 at 7:26 AM #

    …and that’s CHARLES, not Charlie.

  8. Geoff 17/10/2008 at 8:30 PM #

    I usually like to look at both “process” (if possible) and the end result, but this time around, I just took in the words — breathed them in, really.

    I like Chapman’s take, indeed … however, for now — for right now, I remain a simple and humble reader, here to enjoy, and yes, I did enjoy.

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