Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jazz in July

"I saw what I saw when I saw it!" — Lou Costello, American radio, stage, television and film actor and burlesque comedian best remembered for the comedy double act Abbott and Costello

LAST NIGHT was the final performance of the year for Jazz in July. Held each summer and sponsored by the Metro Arts Alliance, Jazz in July offered a free performance somewhere in the Des Moines metro area 24 of the 31 days in July. Paul performed at two of them this year, one with the Des Moines Big Band and one last night with the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra.

It was so very, very hot, but inventive as he is, Paul came up with a clever way of staying cool. When he wasn't standing at the mic playing a solo, he wore a straw hat where underneath he'd tucked a gel cold pack. It was a little brain-freezy for the first few minutes, he said, but quickly became his salvation.

The Turner Center Jazz Orchestra is the house band for the Fred and Patty Turner Jazz Center, a state-of-the-art jazz performance and teaching facility recently built on the Drake University campus. The center is the result of a donation by Fred Turner in honor of his wife, Patty Turner, who he met when both attended Drake. Fred was one of the very first employees of what was then a fledgling company called McDonalds, and we all know how that little start-up turned out. Fred stayed and ended up serving consecutively as CEO, Chairman and Senior Chairman of the corporation until his retirement in 2004.

Paul, in the pink shirt, is playing a feature song last night
at Jazz in July, while Jim Romain conducts.

When we got home, we watched a 1949 classic comedy movie called, Abbott & Costello Meets the Killer: Boris Karloff being shown by Svengoolie on Me-TV. Svengoolie is produced by WCIU-TV from Chicago, one of the last locally-owned, programmed and operated stations in a major US market. It's a hoot!

Lou Costello


This station is a find. It'll take you back to the days of having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk after school while lying on the floor in front of the television watching a harmless and silly black and white movie. Everybody needs to be allowed to be ten years old again every once in awhile. Svengoolie is on Saturday night at 9:00 PM CST on cable.

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