****** Musician's Meanderings******
Steve Hashimoto's Journey Journal – News From the Trenches – 09-07-2003:
Another tale from the dawn of jazz.
One of my first bass playing gigs was with drummer Lanny Grilly's band (my
first gig was with Jack Hubal's band; I'm eternally grateful to both of them).
At the time (1979) Lanny's band was working a lot on the Lincoln Avenue scene,
and had just played one of the first Chicago Jazz Festivals -- I inherited the
gig from Mike Arnopol. The band was made up of some pretty strong characters,
all of them still friends of mine, all of them good players and good people.
The chemistry was just a little too weird to continue.
The band at the time consisted of Lanny on drums, his brother Dave on saxes,
John Roothaan on piano, Kathy Kelly on vibes, Ed Hoke on percussion and
myself. We were all young (Lanny was the oldest of us), opinionated and headstrong
-- eventually every one of us went on to become leaders of our own bands. On
one of my very first gigs, before I really knew what was going on, I had a
conflict and subbed the gig out to a young player named Mark Steele (some of you
may remember him). It was one of Mark's very first gigs; although I was still
new as a bass player, I'd been working professionally already for 10 years, as a
trumpet player and guitarist, so I'd already experienced a fair amount of
weirdness. I told Mark I'd stop in after my gig and see how things were going.
The band was playing at Collette's (the bar on Lincoln Avenue that's now
called Lilly's). At the time Collette's was one of the busiest joints on Lincoln
Avenue, at the height of that street's period as a musical strip (Ratso's,
Wisefools, Orphan's, Somebody Else's Troubles, Redford's, The Latin Village, Ron's
Pub, The Red Lion, The Silver Fox and The Bulls were still presenting live
music of all kinds). It was a Saturday night and by the time I got there the
place was packed. I walked in and here's what I saw: Dave Grilly playing a
furious, crazed solo, backed only by drums, congas and bass; Lanny Grilly flailing
away at the drums, looking pissed as hell; Kathy Kelly nowhere in sight (turned
out she was hiding beneath her vibes); John Roothaan sitting at his piano
with his arms folded, resolutely not playing; Ed Hoke trying gamely to smile as
he attempted to keep up with Lanny and Dave; and Mark Steele looking exactly
like a deer caught in the headlights. Seemed that all night tension had been
building between Dave and Roothaan on one hand and Dave and Lanny on another,
and finally during the last break it erupted into an open argument (no blows,
mind you, just some shouting). When it was finally time to go back up Roothaan
decided that he wasn't going to comp for Dave, Dave decided he didn't need any
comping anyway, and Kathy just decided to hell with it all.
When the gig ended Mark just looked at me, shook his head, and asked me if it
was always like this; I said I didn't really know and apologized, but later
found out that it was, more or less. Lanny went on to open the jazz club
Benchley's on Broadway, where I played a lot, and continued to field variations of
his band for many years. I was in a lot of them and met and played with a lot
of really good people (Henry Johnson, Pat Fleming, Glenn Morimoto, Mark
Messing, Sasha Brusin, to name just a few), but he and Dave eventually had to agree
not to play with each other. Kathy quit the band, but shortly thereafter joined
Mothra, and has played with me in that band for 23 years now; she also formed
her own band, which I played in for a few years, along with Neal Seroka, Mark
Walker and Mike Raynor. John formed a series of trios, many of which I played
in, often with Mark Walker, and I was happy to see him return recently to the
Chicago scene. Ed Hoke formed a fusion band called The Warmers, which I also
played in for a while; we went on the road a few times, and the band included
Suzanne Palmer, Peter Lerner, Lee Noren, James Perkins and sometimes Lloyd
King. I haven't played much with Dave since those days, but I continue to have a
high regard for his musicianship. I think Mark Steele quit the business, but I
may be wrong. If anyone knows where he is, I'd be interested to see if he
remembers this gig.
I finally have a website! Musician/webmaster Tim Bales went to the trouble of
registering a domain name for me and designing a snazzy site, at
www.stevehashimoto.com. He's a talented webmaster and is looking for other clients -- you
can contact him at email@example.com. Thanks a bunch, Tim.
This week Steven Hashimoto will nurse his career along at:
SUN. 9/7: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 8-10pm, with poet Marc Smith
and The Pong Unit (Mike Smith, guitar; Dave Flippo, keyboards; Ted Sirota,
drums) for The Uptown Poetry Slam.
MON. 9/8: at KOPI CAFE, 5317 N. Clark, 8-10pm, with guitarist Pat Fleming.
TUES. 9/9: a leader date at the Chicago Historical Society; thanks a million
to Dave Flippo for recommending me.
FRI. 9/12: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 1:30-3:45am, with The Green
Mill Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob Long, piano; Rick Shandling,
drums) for The After-Hours Jam Session.
SAT. 9/13: a jobbing date in Hoosier country with maestro Joe Golan; a
million thanks to Joe Levinson for getting me on the date.
SUN. 9/14: at THE ROSELLE PUBLIC LIBRARY, 40 S. Park St., Roselle, IL,
1:30-3pm, with The Sueños Latin-Jazz Quartet (Mike Levin, sax; Bob Long, piano;
Steve Magnone, drums).
I need to fill Saturday Sept. 27 -- call me at 708-222-6520.