Since I mentioned him yesterday, I thought I’d play some Eubie Blake. Blake was either born in 1883 or1887 (sources disagree) and he began playing at the age of 4. He, and band leader Noble Sissle, wrote the 1921 musical “Shuffle Along,” the first Broadway hit by and about African-Americans. He also penned several enduring jazz standards like “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and “Memories Of You” which I played yesterday. He wrote his first song, “Sounds Of Africa” at the age of 12 but it wasn’t published until 1917 when it was renamed “Charleston Rag.” Here is Eubie playing his first composition on what may or may not have been the occasion of his 98th birthday.
I am lucky enough to be able to say I like my job and I enjoy going to work *almost* every day. But now I’ve reached a point where I can see the distant light at the end of the career tunnel and from here it looks pretty good. I look forward to a time when I will no longer be doing this and I can devote more time to doing other things I like. I don’t think jazz men ever get that feeling. Lots of them die young but the ones who live keep working until they drop! I think it’s because audience love is like a drug. No one outside of show business gets that kind of love when they go to work. Take me for example, almost none of the people I interpreted pizza orders for tonight showered me with hotel keys and underpants. Almost NONE! Is it any wonder I’m so eager to retire??