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FAREWELL TO A GUIDING LIGHT

 

Good-bye Alice Wick Bowen Hall. Thank you for 50 years of wonderful friendship. More to write about this…soon.

Alice and I met at M.I.T. in the 1960s. I was translating a thesis for a grad student, she was a science librarian working on computers. We became friends instantly, and it was clear that we had a mutual admiration.

Next thing I knew I was invited to her wonderful summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. I continued to visit the house every summer, and those are some of the most wonderful memories of the last 50 years.

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SOME SPECIAL COMPLIMENTS

January 2018 – from the family of a saxophone student:

“Happy birthday Carol! This card is perfectly stated! This is how we see you! Thank you for all the love and kindness you show us. We adore you. You make playing the sax fun.Love, Kristi, Lucas and family.” …and this is the text of the card they gave me: “What makes you different is what makes you special. Nobody can do what you do exactly the way you can do it.  What makes you different is what the world needs, the original way you see things. Your exciting story, your unique strength. What makes you different is what’s worth celebrating today, your big heart, your brave life, your one-of-a-kind spirit.:

Thursday, January 5, 2018 – Swing Pub, Molfetta – posted by Gianluca de Bari (guit), written either by him or the club owner:

Credo che il complimento più bello che si possa fare ad un musicista, specialmente se a farglielo sono altri musicisti, sia “inspiring”. In italiano non so come verrebbe. Fatto sta che ieri sera si è provato qualcosa di inspiring: si è vista gente con gli occhi lucidi su Old Folks e si sono sentiti applausi alla fine di tutti i soli su tutti i brani, neanche fossimo al Village Vanguard NYC: magia dell’inspiring appunto; che ha contagiato il resident trio e ha catturato il pubblico. Carol Sudhalter is a very inspiring musician. Ed era anche il suo compleanno, con annesso tantiauguri. Grazie a Giuseppe Lasorsa ed al suo staff, al fotoreporter NicoVito Bufi ed ai musicisti Francesco Paolo LuisoAttanasio Mazzone e Gianluca de Bari ed un arrivederci presto a Carol Sudhalter a cui auguriamo un sereno rientro al fresco di NYC…

I think that the greatest compliment one can give to a musician, especially if it’s fellow musicians who are giving the compliment, is the word ‘Inspiring”. In Italian I don’t know how it would be phrased.

Yesterday evening those present experienced something inspiring: Folks with tears in their eyes at “Old Folks”; applause at the end of every solo on every tune, and we weren’t even at New York’s Village Vanguard: the magic of inspiring, that spread to the resident trio and captivated the public. Carol Sudhalter is a very inspiring musician. And it was also her birthday, with big wishes to her. Thanks to Giuseppe Lasorsa and his staff, to photo reporter NicoVito Bufi and to the musicians Francesco Paolo LuisoAttanasio Mazzone and Gianluca de Bari; and an “arrivederci see you soon” to Carol Sudhalter whom we wish a serene return to the cold of NYC.

…and a continuation by an audience member, Gennaro Pansini:

Gennaro Salvatore Pansini “Allo Swing Pub di Molfetta (Bari) si continua, e si continuerà, all’insegna del live jazz internazionale. Condivido i contenuti del post di Gianluca sulla serata di venerdì 5 gennaio 2018. In italiano potremmo dire: infondere ispirazione…catalizzare…avvolgere con la propria personalità, il proprio carisma sia il divenire musicale della serata, sia i musicisti del resident trio (Gianluca de Bari, Francesco Paolo Luiso e Attanasio Mazzone), che hanno dato il giusto climax, la giusta interpretazione alla musica della speciale “inspiring musician” ospite: Carol Sudhalter. L’eccellente Carol ha catturato il pubblico sia con la sua discorsiva, straordinaria espressione al flauto, al sax tenore ed al canto, sia con la sua simpatia: ad un certo punto è scesa dal palco, si è inoltrata nel locale con il suono del suo sax, fra spettatori in piedi e seduti ai tavoli. Carol seguiva attenta e divertita i soli dei tre musicisti accompagnatori, apprezzando, in tante fasi della performance, la crescita della tensione ritmica, gli stimoli dell’efficace groove che i tre partner intessevano. L’affiatamento dei tre musicisti si notava da tempo, nella capacità di ciascun solista, di ripetere brevi cellule ritmico-melodiche con spostamento del beat: il tutto crea un bel “ciclo” musicale che si conclude sull’uno della battuta risolutiva, sulla quale si ritrovano tutti e tre: bel giuoco…bel play…Era anche il compleanno di Carol e Giuseppe Lasorsa ha offerto una gustosa torta alla crema chantilly. 💐🌸😊👏👏👏”

Tuesday, August 14th 2012
This is a new, complimentary review by Marc Lichtman: of a house concert we gave on November 23, 2014, in Forest Hills, Queens:

I was one those who went. I’ve known Carol Sudhalter for 40+ years, but I hadn’t seen her play in… I don’t know how long. The two CDs of hers that I bought at a concert are both dated 2002, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her play somewhere in between.
Carol Sudhalter looks pretty much like she always did, is just as thin (eat your heart out), but her playing is even better. A 2 hr. set of love songs, Carol on baritone sax and flute. She plays much of the time in Italy, and a bunch of her Italian musician friends were there (every musician except her and the drummer). There were two bass players (one who substituted when the other played flugelhorn), a vocalist on some numbers, plus piano.

A really fine concert; too bad it was a small audience. The weather was bad, but not nearly as bad as predicted. A nice club too.

Carol Sudhalter's photo.

July 15, 2012: I was listed in DOWN BEAT Magazine in the 77th Jazz Reader’s Poll as nominee for best jazz musician in the flute category! Bill Russo, radio personality, wrote this:

I voted for you where you where listed. I wrote your name in where your name was not listed in categories where I felt it was appropriate.
I hope you get the recognition you deserve for your years and years of creating, performing, collaborating and mentoring in world of music. We are all better for what you do and you have such a great legacy of entertained listeners and enhanced musicians.  Bill Russo

January 2, 2012, from Erik Lawrence, saxophonist, after an evening of both of us sitting in with the great David Amram at Cornelia Street Cafe:

“What better way to celebrate Frank Wess’ birthday than to hear melodic, swinging inventive, creative and burning flute by someone with Something to Say. Bless you Carol Sudhalter! Thanks for that.”

July 4, 2011: From Milt Robertson, long-time companion of the great singer Ruth Brisbane:

“Hi Carol,Great job.  As soon as I heard the flute I knew it was you.  What a sound.
The two British gentlemen sitting next to me were immediately impressed with your
sound.  They just arrived on the QE2.  They inquired of the Jazz trio working the ship;
where may we listen to some jazz.  They told him about “Small’s Jazz Club”.  They
showed up and liked what they heard.  They came early and remained until the show
following Ruth.  We all like your work.
Thanks for sitting in.  Good work.  “Milt”

July 6, 2011: From Jerry Bergonzi, one of the greatest sax players in the world:

“Carol. You are the best. I still remember u sounding so great on I’ll remember April. Your friend, Jerry”

July 10, 2011 From Meredith Gardner, Ph. D.

” If people could only hear you, they’d come off their anti-depressants and other meds.
I’m the privileged one here….Thanks so much for your companionship and….talent.
My soul and ears are grateful.    Fondly,  “Merry Lee”

August 15, 2016, from singer Toby Altman after her yearly barn-bash featuring such luminaries as Marcus McLaurine, Eric Lemon, Doug Richardson, Linda Ciafolo and  more:

“Hey carol, I was just about to write you to thank you for the most uplifting energy plus talent that you bring every time……it simply isn’t the same without you,,,,I was so pleased with the music we made,,,,,it was smoking in there in every way,,,xoxo toby”

 

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ASTORIA BIG BAND DEBUT PERFORMANCE AT FLUSHING TOWN HALL

NOVEMBER 17, 2017 was the date. The theme was ‘Memories of Jazz in Queens’. We were privileged to play the music of Louis Armstrong, Jutta Hipp, Dizzy Gillespie, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Count Basie and more. What a wonderful time.

From LYNNE: Hi Carol,  Thanks for a great concert and great music!  I really liked how you talked about the music and the musicians.  It was a real treat to watch the Big Apple Lindy hoppers too!  You looked terrific!

KEVIN K: Carol – Brava!  I enjoyed last evening’s concert.  ‘Jazz in Queens’ was an appropriate title for a concert.  The piece by and information on Jutta Hipp was new to me.  Just one of many enjoyable pieces.  I hope you were happy with the evening.
ERIC: Great concert. I just started reading “kansas city lightning: the  rise & times of charlie parker” by stanley crouch (fabulous writer, reads like a novel). it begins with parker’s band, the jay mcshann band traveling to nyc and the savoy ballroom to do battle with lucky millinders band.he describes the setting with the musicians, concert goers, dancers it was so appropriate to attend a coincert a couple of days later and see what my mind had previously conjured in my imagination.
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Nice Thing that happened on an Otherwise Uneventful Gig

Last night I was playing a very uneventful, Bb wedding in Clifton, NJ, when I saw something quite beautiful.

People were dancing to the very loud, heavy beats that we and the recordings were producing. I guess you could call it music…though far from my experience of same. I watched the dancers, to pass the time quicker…little kids running in circles, activated by the music …pregnant women on the dance floor…everyone in spike heels that made me lose my balance just to look at. Clutching my coat around me to deal with the way-overpowered air conditioning, I wondered how all the sleeveless women handled it.

Suddenly a man in a wheelchair caught my attention. His wife, or partner– a tall, lanky woman in a long black dress — had draped herself across his lap as he wheeled himself around the dance floor on a rock ballad. He began turning his journey into a passionate dance, with heated whirls and turns that intensified into moves as sensuous and compelling as the most turned-on couple on any dance floor. By the end of the dance they were locked in a passionate kiss.

It made the whole evening worth while.

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Memorial Day 2017 Post

The memory of Memorial Day that stands out in my mind: I was in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade in Newton, MA. I was looking out the vertical row of small rectangular windows to the right of the front door, wishing to go out. My hands were pressed against the wood of the door and the window frame. As my mom opened the front door, one of my fingers slipped in by the hinge. She slammed the door, and I began to scream in pain. It took a minute for her to figure out what was wrong.

The finger was broken, and was put in a small cast. This was my first experience with understanding how terrible a parent feels when they’ve done wrong by their kid. It was a deep emotion for me and I’ve never forgotten it.

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MY DAILY HEROES

This blog is about people in my life with whom I’ve crossed paths, either occasionally or frequently, who have impressed me because of how they live, their beliefs, their ideals, their faithfulness to who they are.

The entries will be short because I’m out of the habit of writing and journaling!

Here is my first daily hero: Dr. Michael Rosenberg, my dentist for the past roughly 37 years. Michael is super competent, quiet, kind and loving, with a wonderful gentle humor. I have enjoyed every minute of treatment. I actually tried once to change dentists when he moved his practice to Union City, NJ. I was miserable! Couldn’t bear going to anyone else. So I take a bus, a train and another bus and arrive happy and ready for my visit. He’s not only a great dentist, but an artist, or so I’ve heard from others who really know the business.

To my question, did he build things and take them apart as a kid, he responded, no, he discovered the mechanical aptitude in himself when already in dental school.

When asked how he decided to go to dental school and become a dentist, he said, ” I wanted to do something where I could make a nice living and help people.”

August 5, 2017. My second post is about Nico Spadavecchia. A very interesting musician who lives in Bisceglie, composes, plays piano, writes arrangements and founded and runs a music school where he brings students forward to the point of recording their own tracks. He also holds down a part-time service job in a hospital. “I began to love music a lot when I was 13”, he says. What about in your younger years? “I was a leader among my friends…” “So do you ever have time to sleep?” I asked, knowing that he is available at the drop of a hat or the ring of a phone to run out at any time of the day or night and help a student in medical or other need. “I sleep only 4 or 5 hours a night”.”Since when have you been so self-sufficient?” “Since I was four!” …and I believe it’s true!

20170726_154014 (1).jpgNico Spadavecchia with vocal student Rita Scalera in Bisceglie, Italy.

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ON THE WISDOM OF MY FOLKS

At times in my adult life I’ve foolishly reflected that my parents had somehow fallen short,  in not teaching me how to purchase real estate or use a credit card or shop for the right clothes or other superficial (as I now see it) qualities. At my somewhat advanced present age, it finally dawned on me: these two great folks gave me three treasured items that have meant nothing short of my mental, physical and spiritual survival!

  1. Piano lessons! Though I’m principally a saxophonist and flautist, I make a good portion of my living by giving piano lessons. Seven years of piano study and my folks’ insistence that I (and my siblings) practice daily, gave me a wonderful tool, which I then honed through several years of fascinating piano pedagogy courses.
  2. Swimming! They insisted we go to camp, which I didn’t always enjoy. But together we hashed out what had been wrong with the early camps, and we came up with a camp where sports training was done correctly by counselors who were phys. ed. majors. Swimming was taught methodically, with breathing, kicking and arm strokes all coordinated methodically. Yes, it was cold in the lake first thing in the morning! Sure, I would have loved to stay in bed or at least warm and dry. But mastery of basic swim strokes has carried me through all the years of my adult life, starting with college: swimming provided an excellent spiritual, meditative and physical activity so powerful,. so relaxing and so efficient that many of my most important decisions were made while doing my laps.
  3. Food wisdom! It was usually my dad who gave me his gems of wise thinking. On several occasions he pointed something out to me that I’d never have realized or thought about. Two that stand out in my memory: in a restaurant (where he was paying), I felt full after a few bites and was pushing the food around without much interest. He noticed and insisted I put down my fork and not finish, and definitely not worry about the cost of the meal. I remember distinctly his use of the phrase ‘eating in a perfunctory way’ and I always think about that. Brilliant advice that’s had positive outcomes for my health with respect to hypoglycemia and more.  The second outstanding occasion that I remember was when, at 25, I was working an office job but suffering from a duodenal ulcer. In discussing the condition with him, and describing how I spent my day, he became exasperated with my description and exclaimed, ‘please, just knock off and spend a few bucks on a hot lunch!!!’ Again, this memory has lasted a lifetime. Lunchtime, dinner time, I’m out on the road, working, teaching, playing, convinced there’s no time to eat — until I hear those words in my head! I stop, I eat. I spend a few bucks. Yes Dad! How much difference your advice has made in my moods, energy, and the efficiency of my work!

Many thanks to you both, Esther and Albert!!!! Rest in peace. Maybe it took me 50 years to realize that it was you two who were responsible for my survival. Fine. That’s how it is!!