Current “Who Am I?”

September 2018

I was born in Philly during the twenties. My dad had a sheet metal business and mom was a traffic guard. As a kid I played the bugle in a Jewish Veterans drum and bugle corps but what really got me hot on music was when I received a trumpet for my bar-mitzvah. I went to Voc School to become more proficient at my chosen musical career. I had some notable classmates there, among them Buddy DeFranco and John Coltrane, both of whom would become famous musicians.

I began to get gigs as a trumpeter for some of the big bands during their heyday. One be-bop trumpeter especially intrigued me so I decided to make the transition from swing to be-bop. Some say I was the first white be-bopper. I performed under a stage name when we toured down south because I had to pass for black (!)due to the Jim Crow laws of that time that didn’t allow mixed races to play music together. It  was hard for me to believe but a famous alto-saxophonist asked me to replace the great Miles Davis in his group! As if…

There were some bad influences on me while I was playing in some of those jazz groups back then and I had to fight chemical addiction a few times in my career. That addiction led to some brushes with the law and I did some time behind bars as a result of it. When I was unable to get a cabaret license to perform in clubs I sometimes worked the wedding and bar-mitzvah circuits. I used my down time in the jug to earn a college degree and later went to law school though I never practiced law, because, as a felon, I was barred from taking the law exam in certain states.

During my career I have made many jazz recordings and have appeared at clubs, festivals and concerts. I was a hit in Las Vegas for a time. Iconsulted with the former Rowdy Yates when he directed a well-known movie about that same fellow who had invited me to take Miles Davis’ job. I even played on the soundtrack for that film. During the late 1980’s I performed in some north Jersey jazz clubs and lived in nearby New Milford. Some of you jazz fans must certainly know me by now. That’s me blowing my horn below.

(1)Who am I?  (2)Name at least 2 big bands Iperformed with. (3)What did they call me when Iperformed down south with an all-black band during the Jim Crow era?  (4)Who was that alto-sax player that invited me to take Miles Davis’ job on trumpet? (5) As previously mentioned, my on-screen character was portrayed in a movie in which I served as a consultant to the director, the former ‘Rowdy Yates’. I educated “Rowdy” about my real-life role. Name that film. What is “Rowdy’s” real name?

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