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120 Scrambling ’64–’65 Phoenix, Flint, Mama Lion, Eigiku, and Onzy M. Well, I got off the road, end of 1963. I wasn’t doing anything, and some guy asked me if I’d like to go to Phoenix and do some Broadway shows, so I say, yeah, okay. So, back on the road, I took the job because I could play clarinet, flute, piccolo, and, like always, I wanted to work on my doubles. Plus, it paid okay, union gig and all. So I spent ten weeks, two weeks for every show, five different shows. We opened with South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, and an old one, very old, forgotten. The fifth was Naughty Marietta, by Victor Herbert. But I remember I worked for a bald-headed guy, Mr. Bono or something. We played the CelebrityTheatre, a circular theater with a revolving stage. And where I stayed, oh, let me tell you. This is January, beginning of the season. People go down there and it’s 78° in the daytime. That’s great, but it drops down to 40° at night. So, my luck, I stay in a trailer the first time ever, because we don’t have trailers in Hawai‘i. And it was quite an experience. It was cold! I was freezing my ass off in there at night! While I was doing the shows I met a guy named Prince Shell, I think his name was. Piano player, black guy, he heard I was there, so he used to take me to jam sessions at the airport, give me a chance to meet some of the guys down there. They had a little restaurant and we used to play jazz on weekends. There was a young drummer from Phoenix doing those shows, too. Bob Wilson. He was about eighteen, but later on he married the singer from Hawai‘i, Pauline Wilson, and they formed the band Seawind. Phoenix, it was a gig. You get off the road, you don’t know nobody in LA, nobody knows you, and you don’t just barge in and go to studio work right away. You’re coming into town. There are so many musicians, and things are tough, even in the studios. And with club gigs, what happens, the top guys, they’d play for minimum bread, which is sad. But in LA there’s so many big names they’ll play for $20 a night. They were recording during the day, making good bread, so 5 S c r a mb l i n g ’ 6 4 – ’ 6 5 • 121 they’d play for that kind of money just to play jazz. You name them, they were there. The only guys that played in clubs that paid good were guys that came in from New York, say Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery. But if you lived in LA, you’d be competing with everybody, and you’d be playing for almost nothing . You’d see big-name players, Joe Pass playing for $20 a night. And you can’t live on that. Anyway, after ten weeks in Phoenix I came back to LA, because that was my home. I lived there, or was trying to, anyway. And I shouldn’t say there were no gigs. I was playing here and there, working in Latin bands on the Eastside. I played with a cat named Don Tosti, a bass player who was into Chicano music. He was big in that, had a hit in the ’40s with “Pachuco Boogie,”a swing-boogie-type thing. And I was, like always, doing nonmusical jobs to make ends meet, before Kenton and after Kenton. But some of those jobs were colorful, and they paid pretty good. One of them, I was doing“extra”work, not playing music, but doing musical actors. See, I knew guys from Hawai‘i who did stand-ins forTV shows and movies, like a sideline.You don’t play, but you hold a horn, because we belong to the musicians’union, and you had to be in the union to hold a horn in a film. So I was an extra, anything that had to do with Polynesian people, Oriental people, Mexicans, or even Arabs, because I passed for all those looks. And I was getting these calls because guys from Hawai‘i used to get Hawai‘i guys for things like that, so I had a connection. His name was Herbie Low, and he used...


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MARC Record
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