Sunday, October 25, 2009

Every Day I Have the Blues

"Every Day I Have the Blues".

The death of Anne Winter is devastating to hundreds, if not thousands, of members of Kansas City's music community.

More than her efforts as proprietor of Dirt Cheap and Recycled Sounds and her many other endeavors, it's Anne's innately warm and generous spirit that will be most sorely missed.

Anne and I occasionally discussed the business of jazz on vinyl. She lamented that more people didn't contact her about unloading their jazz collections. While she might have done brisk business trading in indie rock, Anne knew that rare jazz material commands top dollar.

Although it's normally anathema to me, during difficult days like these I take solace in reminiscing. Please indulge me.

My love affair with jazz was cemented at Milton's. As a teenager, I'd sip whiskey at the bar and dizzily watch the turntable spin jazz albums. That experience contributed far more to my juvenile delinquency than did all the time I spent sitting in my bedroom listening to Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols.

I began buying jazz recordings in earnest in the early '80s. My primary source was Penny Lane Records on Broadway (now the TWEC-owned Streetside). I took advantage of their three-for-$10 "Nice Price" sales to discover music by the likes of Miles Davis and Weather Report. As a bonus, manic clerk Dwight Frizzell would insist that I buy self-released Sun Ra albums.

I also frequented Classical Westport (now the Thai Place). In keeping with their refined aesthetic, they stocked the ECM catalog. I'd also stop at the late James DeRigne's place. I still find it amusing that he'd play prog rock as Buck Clayton's happy visage looked on from a prominently displayed signed album cover. (Before any readers object, I also shopped at Caper's Corner and the little shop that was located near the present location of Jardine's, but I don't recall that I bought any jazz at those stores.)

The mother lode, of course, was Ron Rooks' Music Exchange. There are countless stories to be told about that eccentric institution- oh, how I miss Dan Conn!- but I'll save those for another time.

I love living in an era when savvy musicians like Matt Otto make their music available as free downloads and most everything is just a click or two away. No amount of downloading, however, can ever replace the time I spent with Anne, Dan, James and Ron.

(Original image of a Scamps LP by Plastic Sax.)


Rick in PV said...

I just always thought Anne would be around as a force for good, sending out positive vibes. Clearly, that flow was not eternal, or supernatural, but subject to "the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." Bye, Anne.

Anonymous said...

There was a time where the younger players in town had a tinge of the KC sound to everything they played. Most of todays younger generation players sound like they could be from any city. Actually a couple of the younger cats who play with Everette Devan have that Kansas City feeling....Matt Hopper comes to mind and that tenor player he uses.

Anonymous said...

Matt Carrillo is the tenor player, he plays great. You're right, not many of the younger players have the "Kansas City sound"--which is why none of them can get work here and leave town as soon as possible...

Hermon Mehari said...

I really don't think guys like Logan and Harold left Kansas City because they couldn't find work. Since leaving, they have played with some of the biggest names in the jazz world.

Anonymous said...

Harold is a fantastic player but he was a flake when he lived here. Unreliable. He either grew up or thought working with Kansas City musicians was beneath him.