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‘Bogey’

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So many years have now passed since the moment I decided, upon a whim, to carve a whimsical tribute to the long gone generation of jazz giants.  At the time I hosted a regular spot on Aspen Public Radio; “The Wednesday Night Jazz Detour”, and as you can imagine, I was listening to a lot of jazz.   During the three hour slot I would occasionally slip in the odd tidbit of background information regarding the artists whose music was being broadcast that night.  So not only did I get to enjoy the fabulous radio station sound system, and talk on the phone to the many listeners who would call the show, but I learned an awful lot about music.  Particularly the music so very familiar to me, that I had grown up hearing, that the nitty-gritty details of their lives often came as something of a massive shock.   Just how many of them died of cigarette and alcohol poisoning is a worrying thought to mull over.   Many of them, the great and not so great, took practically their every breath deep within the confines of some dimly lit smoke filled room or another.   Add the endless traveling and it is quite easy to tally up the quota of suffering that a great many of our jazz gods must have endured.   Not too many family men amongst the ranks it must be noted.   But after all is said and done, I doubt if any of these men would have had it any other way.    They were free.   Their audience, not so.    Some might say that they sold their souls for the spotlight, but I’d argue in fairness that the price many of them paid, for the rest of us to lap up their mesmeric music, would more than settle the account.

As a starting point for my ‘model’ I had no shortage of candidates: Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Jack Teagarden, Oscar Peterson, to name but a few.   But one particular face imposed itself upon mind, and that was that of film star legend Humphrey Bogart. Something about those deeply etched lines, the ever doleful look, the pout, the smile.   It all seemed so right. And yet, as we all know, brilliant as Bogey was, I have yet to hear a word regarding his musical talent.  There is of course however his famous non utterance; “Play it again, Sam“, perhaps the most famous of quotes that were never said.   So that must be it.   In our minds eye, if we possessed the talent… that is precisely how we ourselves would expertly tinkle the ivories.

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Bogey has sure peered out upon many a vista down through the years, and I still retain something of the start he gave me when happenstance conspires unexpectedly to direct his full attention my way. I still enjoy moving him around from time to time. Partners in time, we are, Bogey and me.

Boogieman

Winterset Limestone

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