Introduced to Trummy Young
by Eric C. Biemiler
A memory from February 1969?
When I was in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii and in between patrols on the USS Kamehameha SSBN-642, a favorite spot for us "single guys" to go was the Hawaiian Hilton's Garden Bar on Sunday afternoons. The hotel was located in Waikii on the island of Oahu. Trummy Young, a great trombone player, hosted the Sundays with his band of jazz and Dixieland. More often than not, visitors would come up from the beach and play with Trummy. Ever see Al Hirt in a bathing suit play trumpet? I did. Of course the other reason we frequented the Garden Bar was single girls. Anyway the music was great!
Dad loved jazz. I still have his seventy-eights (records, the old vinyl type that spin and you use a needle to play the sound from them?) of famous jazz. Fortunately, I borrowed a record player and recorded them to tape long ago. I digress.
Dad was on his way back from Indonesia (I'm guessing February 1969, as we still had rainy/winter Hawaii weather) after a writing trip for an airline tourist magazine and stopped to visit me in Hawaii. He loved jazz, so during his stay my friends and I took him to see Trummy. Well of course he enjoyed it and sipped the drinks with the umbrellas and fancy fruit. As I recall the Mai Tai s and Scorpions and Zombies (all rum drinks) packed a punch (no pun intended).
We listened to maybe a session or two and during the band's break Dad disappeared. My guess was he needed the bathroom and probably I was partially right. Anyway, the break seemed longer than most and Dad was gone for more than usual for such a trip, but sitting at the table a few rows back from the stage, my friends and I didn't think much of it. Yak away we did.
The time ticked and I looked up to see Trummy Young and Dad heading to our table. I'm thinking, oh boy, the rum... "Trummy," says Dad. "I want you to meet my son."
I promptly stood up and grasped the offered hand of Mr. Young and said I enjoyed his show, stumbling over my words, astonished and Trummy said something to Dad that sounded like, "Hell Carl, I didn't know you had kids this old?" All in a mock tone of voice. "Carl," I'm thinking? Anyway, small talk ensued and Trummy left to go back and play.
Dad is beaming and launches into how he knew Trummy and many others from his New York City days and nights of jam sessions and how Trummy played with Louis Armstrong and did the movie, "High Society" with Grace Kelly, Louis, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc., etc.
There were few people of note, I found in later years, who Dad didn't know.
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