My mother passed away yesterday, age 87. This means she was born in 1928, which means that if she happened to be a teenager who hung out in jazz clubs on 52nd street, the years would have been around the mid to late 1940s. And that's who she was and what she did! She grew up in the Bronx but got hip (or 'hep' as the word was then pronounced/spelled) to jazz at a young age. She and a friend would take the subway to 'the street'--then the jazz haven of the world--and go to places like The Onyx, or The 'Famous Door or (she always mentioned this one in particular) The Spotlite (note the spelling--not incorrect). The jazz of that era--the big-bands and the small groups--were her thing and she somehow imparted her love of this music to me without ever playing it for me or forcing me to listen to it. How is that possible? I will go to the end of my days without an answer to that baffling question.

Above is the great (and under appreciated) tenor sax player Don Byas playing a great (and under appreciated) Duke Ellington song, "Don't You Know I Care?" He was one of my mom's favorites and whenever she mentioned Byas she always added "and he was a real gentleman". I don't know what that means, but for underage Jewish girls from the Bronx to be hanging out with black-dude jazz guys on 52nd street, it must have been code for something.

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  1. ברוך דיין האמת- Baruch Dayan HaEmes - Blessed is the True Judge. May her memory be for a blessing and her family be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. If there is anything I can do please call on me.Rabbi Elli

  2. Raymond:

    Condolences to you and the rest of the family on the passing of your mother yesterday. Always very difficult to lose a loved one. May she Rest in Peace and may your thoughts be filled with the memories of decades of love she brought to all of you.

    Steve Hodel
    Los Angeles

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  3. You made her proud Raymond that I am sure of, Condolences.

  4. Sorry to read about the passing of your mother. Think of the decades you spent together. Phil