Monday, March 12, 2012
It was hard to be two places at once, much less three.
His job as night clerk ended when the guys who hired him
and Marilyn and all the others but one
were found to be embezzling, and the one was the only
employee to be kept because he had more experience.
Marilyn said that was fine, she’d go back to Queen Anne.
When he went to California with Sanchez and company
he missed classes and had nothing to offer but what he wrote,
which is how he wanted it anyway.
They played in L. A. for their second and last appearance.
He asked Sanchez what he thought about him singing,
Could you get by without my clarinet? Who couldn’t,
he wanted to add. How do you know you can sing?
He showed them. He sang My Favorite Things.
That went okay, so after the break he did God Bless the Child.
That went well, as did a little later, My Funny Valentine,
and everybody in the club applauded so he might take heart
and did, and ended his debut with In Your Own Sweet Way.
Bobby told Sanchez he could set in on clarinet between songs.
But Sanchez had something new and had to find a sax, he said.
Doug Harper idolized Dexter Gordon, but he had a hand
that looked like it was hard for him to play sax. Even so,
he was damn good, and Sanchez went looking for him,
found him in jail, put up bail, and DG, as he called himself,
somehow transformed his more-or-less lame hand into gold.
With Doug’s tenor, Sanchez on drums, Dave Cole on piano,
Clark on bass, and Bobby’s straight singing, they comprised
a quartet plus one. They splurged to fly from LAX to Sea-Tac,
and Harper was waiting. He made himself sound like DG.
Bobby added Sinatra’s Time after Time. Then My Romance.
Melindra came to hear him one night in the New Congress.
She suggested he change what he wanted, show them how
extending a line sounds, or what happens to a song if lines
disappear, then riff on words the audience already knows.
That way Bobby changed the well known into a language
of his own, and had them believing he arranged his songs.
(8 March 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander