Local Heroes/American Originals

Local Heroes/American Originals

Uncle George

It was a family secret. And when they first told me, I didn’t understand why it had been hidden. But I didn’t understand America, then. Your uncle George is Japanese, they said, but don’t tell your cousin, his daughter, she doesn’t know . When he married your aunt, before the War, they told mom and […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

Hungry Heart (Warren Bracken)

It looked like he had it all. In L.A., in 47, it looked like he did. I mean, married to Vivian Dandridge — movie star, of singing Dandridge Sisters! Got out of the Navy, they made him house pianist at Billy Berg’s before he could take the uniform off. Just a kid from Paducah, Kentucky, […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

Small Town Girl

Imagine you’re young, in a country town — muddy fields, hard crops, ditches and empty roads. You hear trains pass, traveling somewhere else, and you dream, hear songs on the radio and dream of a future for yourself. not big dreams, of course, nose not small, smile crooked, and it’s the depression anyway, daddy’s lost […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

The Widow Faulkner

In 1970, Glen Moore was traveling with the Paul Winter Consort, and with a few days off, Paul and Glen stopped in Charlottesville, Virginia, estate of William Faulkner, Paul invited by late author’s daughter to ride in a fox hunt. While Paul donned pink jacket and top hat, like Faulkner before his last fall, Glen […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

Hands Find the Way (Clare Fischer)

It’s different every time. That’s the first thing you have to understand, says Clare Fischer. It’s different because you’re not thinking. There’s no time for thinking. Playing jazz is like plumbing, Glen Moore says, only there’s already water in the pipes. Not something you figure out or memorize. You’re not thinking, says Fischer, you’re not […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

Betty the Warrior (Betty Carter)

“You don’t see anyone answering the door for me, do you?” says Betty. “I’m doing it myself. Look” — gestures to towel around her head — “I don’t even have my wig hat on.” Wig hat. Betty Carter’s been in show business since age 16, since leaving church choir, since her father died and mother […]

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Local Heroes/American Originals

Chet Baker – Falling in Amsterdam

Chet Baker died in a fall from a window in the Prins Hendrik Hotel in Amsterdam. Like my dad, who also died in a fall and played trumpet too, but not like Chet, with his hollow cheeks and pompadour, and when I was young I wanted to emulate cool guys, not dad’s crew-cut optimism, hot […]

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