Out of High School
High school was about Rock ‘n Roll. We were watching and listening to Elvis Presley in “Blue Hawaii.”
But, something changed as we neared graduation; and I don’t know why.
I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now.
There was a party at a friend’s house. But we were listening to a tape I had brought. Out of nowhere, we were listening to jazz.
And not any jazz, but one of the most innovative and progressive jazz albums of that time and forever after.
Dave Brubeck Quartet “Time Out.”
And we were talking about new ideas in clothing; wearing work boots was now cool.
Off to College
Popular music was evolving and morphing.
“Folk music” gained popularity; often based on vintage 78 rpm records.
One such group, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band came to a club in Detroit. I went to see them.
Instead of rock guitars and drums, they were playing acoustic guitars, banjos, washtub bass, kazoos, and a jug.
Off to Art School
How do you spell stubborn; or perhaps, lucky?
I grabbed everything I could carry including an electric guitar and hopped a train from Michigan to New York City.
I stowed my stuff in a locker in Grand Central Station and made my way to Greenwich Village where I thought I had a contact.
I spent my first night in a Flop House with the drunks and homeless guys.
Though a college friend, I had visited an apartment in mid-town. I did not have the address.
Walking in the general area, I checked each street and building, and apartment; and somehow, miraculously, found it.
Two young women who lived there; let me spend the weekend in their apartment while they were gone. Amazing, I was a total stranger.
Living High and Low
Checking the New York Times, I found a room in a hotel I could afford.
I got the room, went to GCS and got my stuff; and became an artist in residence in a tiny room with a sink.
Not exactly the “Manhattan Tower, I was living in Times Square right next to the New York Times building.
I spent my days wandering about the city, usually the Village. I ate at the Automat on my budget of 35 cents a day.
I wrote poems where I could plant myself. I took photos of my journey. I sat in my room with my guitar and wrote songs.
There was also a new group from Chicago that was making waves at that time; “The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.”
Their second album had a mind bending 13 minute instrumental song called “East West.”
It was like nothing in music at that moment; and somehow seemed to converge with the growing “Fusion” movement in jazz at that time.
Both the Jug Band, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Butterfield Blues Band were performing at Town Hall.
I wanted to shoot this gig, and I had no press pass. So I just got stubborn and wandered around the side of the building and found the stage door.
No one noticed me, so, I just went to the stage and parked myself by the side curtains. I got some dramatic shots of the Butterfield band.