Happy International Jazz Day! To celebrate, we're going to drive our vintage 1979 International Harvester Scout to the International House of Pancakes while listening to Akira Jimbo's "Jimbo Gumbo." Afterwards, we will return to AAJ Headquarters and have some Maxwell House International Coffee.
How do you plan on celebrating this global event?
We'd like to apologize to all our friends in Nepal who came out to AAJ's first Sherpa Nite at Club Himalaya. We failed to take into account the effects of the altitude, and none of the horn players were able to get enough air to blow. You'll all be glad to know that they are resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery. The drummer and bassist were treated for disorientation and slurred speech, but were released after it was pointed out that they were like that before the gig.
We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope you'll come out again for next month's Shake Your Bhutan Nite, which will be held at a much lower altitude and should be a bargain at ₹ 5 or a two drink minimum.
On this date in Jazz history, April 26, 1920, notorious gangsters and bootleggers Carmine "The Sous Chef" Baldacci and Vincent "Winnie the Pooh" Puglisi opened the short-lived Up Yours, Volstead Club in Brooklyn. Booking in some of New York's premiere Jazz talent, from Fletcher Henderson to that other guy who wasn't Fletcher Henderson, the club was both one of the first to introduce Jazz to the Big Apple and one of the first to allow both blacks and whites (though, they prohibited the "excessively tan," a move which angered gangsters from New Jersey). The club was only in operation for six months, despite its decidedly conspicuous name and its progressive social attitudes that ran counter to the predominant mores of the day. The club was firebombed and burned to the ground by members of the North Jersey Mob on October 12, 1920, rebuilt hastily by the same people (whom the New York press called the "bronze bombers"), and then burned again on Halloween just to make sure it took.
Another Jazz milestone worth remembering, brought to you by AAJ.
The long anticipated roll-out of AAJ's online dating service, Duet®, has been delayed yet again. We've discovered yet another bug in the matching algorithm, and are working to correct it. Apparently, if you select that you enjoy both Hot and Smooth Jazz, love cats, and choose Applebee's as your favorite Date Night Restaurant, the system matches you with a cardboard cut-out of Al Hirt. We're still trying to figure that one out.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, and thank you for using AAJ.
For those of you who subscribe to AAJ's Jazz Joke of the Day, we'd like to apologize for the potentially offensive typo in the punchline to today's joke. It was supposed to read, "So the bear picked up the rabbit and wiped his bass with him." We're truly sorry for the error.
We were remiss in mentioning what would have been Charles Mingus's 91st birthday yesterday. You'll be glad to know that we did observe the occasion by enjoying a giant pork pie hat-shaped ice cream cake, listening to the epic Jazz masterpiece "Epitaph" in its entirety, and punching the ghost of Jimmy Knepper in the mouth.
Happy belated birthday, Mingus.
On this date in Jazz history, April 22, 1920, pioneering bandleader Paul Whiteman made the fateful decision to change the name of his group to Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra, as a nod to the Ambassador Hotel where they were performing, from the much more divisive Paul Whiteman and the Swinging Crackers which was meant to reflect their sponsorship from the National Biscuit Company. Whiteman would later establish another milestone in the history of cluelessness when he had to be dissuaded by executives at the RCA Victor label from dedicating a record to a beloved relative who was a lover of blues and jazz, as the resultant "Songs for Uncle Tom" probably wouldn't have been well received even then.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated in today's AAJ Jazzathon, where competitors see who can run the farthest during a Keith Jarrett solo. The men's winner was Kenya's James Kwambai, who made it as far as Altoona in the length of the "Radiance" album. The women's winner, Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo, made it as far as Harrisburg before saying "To hell with it" and returning to AAJ Headquarters for the Eat Your Weight in Cheesesteak Challenge (where she is currently leading the field after favorite Jeff Fitzgerald hit the fabled "Whiz Wall" after his 12th sandwich).
Thanks again to everyone who came out, and to those who are sticking around for the Pat Metheny Look-A-Like Contest and the Harry Connick, Jr., Movies That Don't Suck Film Festival.