I stood there at graveside in the cold morning mist, collar of my dark blue, (but not too warm coat) turned up-in an effort to--ahh hell, I don't know--I saw it in a film noir flick once--let's just say--that it looked appropriate for the occasion--"the occasion"? The laying to rest of my mother-my mother of soul-of laughs-of tears (the very same that I'm drowning in as I write this bit of text about my mother who I never thought that I had the mother that I now know that bequeathed to me the key to all the doors where the ...read more
Backstage at a concert I was doing a few years back, I heard the house announcer getting ready to bring me on, doing his thing. As I'm checking to see if my fly was zipped I heard the words (not in any particular order): jazz, clarinet, septuagenarian and Mort Weiss. I remember thinking--what the f**k? OK, I was asked to write something about a now-well-known little break I took from the scene for 40 years, and that upon returning in 2001 led Scott Yanow, critic, reviewer and internationally acclaimed writer and jazz historian to proclaim that ...read more
O.K. Now that I've got your attention, what should I write about? The many articles here at AAJ have damn near covered each and every aspect on the topic of jazz and its place (albeit) always in flux and change with each and every up and coming generation of players. Where is jazz in the scheme of worldly import and does its relationship to the here and now pay proper respect to all the cats that came before, laying each foundation brick on the yet to be house of pain--sorrow--love--happiness--hopes and dreams of the artists who were destined to dwell ...read more
When we think of an art form, the tendency is to look in every and all directions except inward--wherein all answers lie, although shielded and hidden from one's self and any that choose to be within your sphere of understanding and passion. Why must it take years of self- study and searching the myriad avenues and paths that lead directly to one's innermost feelings of hope, love, fear and despair? And reaching that destination, only to find that every hope and dream that you dare dream is not enough--not enough to quench the thirst of your passions that any & ...read more
Opening!Screaming through the quagmire of being, I see--nay, feel--justification of the heat of singularity of thought. Yearning of (and for) all energies spinning--not only in the dance of Shiva, but in the fulfillment of a manifest destiny of understanding and love that gives forth its eternal fires of hope and the many tomorrows that can & will exist in the immutable paradigms of reception and order, thus bringing together the complete schism of an entity of pre- and/or post-existence on the plains of destiny thereof. Enabling the existence of the mere act of existing itself, to be put ...read more
Hello, once again. Still above ground and taking nourishment while most any of my contemporaries who haven't left the building as of yet are listening to smooth jazz, taking their Lithium and writing with crayons. Having shared that thought with you, last month I had my 78th birthday--another strange custom (why do people celebrate one's arriving at a year closer to their death?).But I digress, having said that, I guess I could be thought of as an elder statesman of jazz (yes, I said statesman). For any of you reading this who would like to know more about ...read more
It was some time in the early 1960s and this story finds me, still Mort Wise, and my band--still named the Wisemen--having just signed a contract with World Artist Management services, a very happening company whose roster had names like Red Skelton, Ray Charles, Jacqueline Fontaine and many others. I would be one of the many others to begin with, at the time, after working the toilets and rough and tumble out of the way places like the Bank Club in Ely, Nevada, where the world's largest open face copper mine just happened to be, giving employment to multitudes of ...read more
Hello again. This remembrance takes us back to the early 1960s when I went under the name of Mort Wise and my band's name was The Wisemen. Go ahead and Google Mort Wise And The Wisemen, and you'll probably come up with the recording we did (on a 45 rpm) called Wild Boy." Also, you might read the AAJ article/profile Mort To Come, which takes one back to a literal What Makes Morty Run" experience (knocked me out!). So, at this juncture you have me heading up show bands, on tenor sax, working and playing in and around Hollywood, Los ...read more
The following is taken from the chronicles of a gold panel Committee of select persons from the international confines of various state institutions that hold such findings sacred--the long-term commitment of these individuals that have given rant to their multitudinous ravings on this highly personal topic.In my course of dumpster diving for salvation, I found these discarded records from the Harding administration that are the most revealing about these ubiquitous and reoccurring problems.And Now the Brutal Truth!I actually don't know much about the sex life of a jazz musician even though I am one. ...read more
As a result of the efforts of one Michael Ricci and what he has given to the jazz world, the above title means just that! Michael has given you--musicians, club owners, booking agents, food and beverage servers, the people that provide such services, all concert and festival artistic directors, venue management, fans, transportation folks and music stores, vendors...I could go on, but I think some of you are starting to get an idea where I've been and where I'm going with this giant light bulb of thought. Having been on the scene since 1948, playing clubs and concerts, owning music ...read more
The following will be an exercise in candor. I like to see my name in print on a Major--the major jazz web site. And I hope it will further better my record sales. I like to think that folks/people are finding things of interest in my remembrances that I've accumulated within my persona over a long life time--most of which was lived in and around the highly complex (yet very simple) world of jazz. And last but not least, it gets my dick hard! What that leads to is yet another story--albeit a very short one. To have reached the ...read more
How the above title turned me on to the love of jazz. It was 1939 and I was four years old and my parents took me to my first moving picture show that being the above (I kinda had eyes for Gone with the Wind) and to hear Clark Gable say that filthy word at the end of the movie--but they had other plans--maybe because the title on its release was Tell your Children. It was financed by a church group as was Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space--hmmmm. Whatever, but when it got to the part were this ...read more
This is the story of two collaborations with Joey DeFrancesco that you almost never saw--or the difference between music ... and the music business." The first unreleased album I recorded with Joey DeFrancesco is now known as the Mort Weiss Quartet CD featuring Joey, Ron Eschete and Ramon Banda, followed by 2006's The B3 and Me. Both of them eventually appeared on my own SMS Jazz label, but more on that in a minute.The original title of the first album was Mort Weiss Meets Joey DeFrancesco, while the follow up was to have been The Joey ...read more
This time out, I'd like to delineate how it is for me when I go somewhere to appear as a guest artist. Specifically, I'm thinking about the time I headlined the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival in Portland, Oregon.The phone rings, and it's Joe Beeler, the artistic director and producer of said festival. We had talked before about my appearing at the festival, but now Joe had a problem: Jack Sheldon and Ernestine Anderson were to appear, but a medical problem for Jack meant that he couldn't fly. Then, suddenly, Ernestine wanted more bread to carry the show. So, ...read more
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