Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

My Maiden NYE Gig

In high school, I played trumpet in a five-piece dance band led by sax player Jerry Welker (RIP). Charlie Baxter was the piano player, Joe Bocci played trombone, and I don't remember the drummer's name.

New Year’s Eve, 1957 found our combo playing for a private organization at the Hunter Motel at the Ft. Belvoir exit from Shirley Highway, now I-95. In those days, Virginia’s night spots could not sell liquor by the drink, so members of such organizations brought their own bottles, and a bar was set up. On this occasion, many of the members went home without taking their partially-consumed liquor bottles. Maybe it was because on New Year’s Eve the cops were out, and the party-goers didn’t want to be caught with open containers in their cars. Or maybe most of them got so drunk that they just left without their hooch. Whatever the reason, as we were packing up to leave, a guy asked us if we wanted any of those bottles. None of us drank hard liquor, but we took what was there and divided it up. I took four or five bottles of booze home and put them on my father’s desk.

The next morning, Dad asked me where the booze had come from. I told him what happened and said the booze was for him. He brightened up and seemed pleased. He said something like, "This music business might be okay after all."


 

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