I guess its time I added some memories- the loss of Paul as my source of so much inspiriation and hope has left a tremendous void for me. His passion for music he loved was the thing he taught me most, to never back down in trying to achieve whatever musical goals you dream about and always strive to achieve them. That's all the theory side. The human side was one of the most fun-loving and funny people on the planet who also taught me to let some things go, always laugh at yourself too ( you pompous thing) and make the positive flow as strong as the negative. FROM 1966 through the time he left for Minnesota there was not a period of time when we werent engaged in some form of music (and mischief) making; no matter how uncommercial or unchallenging the project I was undertaking he wanted to be on board and that always guaranteed for me that nobody would think of the undertaking as amateur because Paul would instantly carry us to a professional level.I
was 20 years old when I met him and hanging out with him in airports and public places became an education for me. We were always dressed unusually ( to say the least) and he and I were the more conservative dressers than our colleagues but to Paul any slight to one was a slight to all. SO many times he would turn to a group of agog touristas and very loudly (in that Marine attention voice) announce "Chester, I do believe there are some people here looking askance at us. Don't they know that produces bad luck for them?" or some such thing that usually sent them scattering or staring at their shoes quickly. He would show the tatoos to cabbies who were interested in scamming us and say "Dont mess with Semper Fi", and generally terrorize anyone who wanted to give grief to the wimpy looking violin player in glasses. He managed to initimidate Hells Angels and wimpy little blowhards like Bill Graham alike, but the intimidation always turned to genuine
admiration of his abilities which in the talent-poor areas of hucksterism we worked was a major accomplishment. The line I always used about our band was that it was too hip for the room but there was always a moment where the entire joint would be rocking to his mesmerizing beat. As Julia Nelson said "he's the only man I know who can strut around behind a drum kit." He rarely had doubts about what he was doing and would regularly announce something musical that excited him as "this is the shit! LISTEN to this shit!" Most of all he could never stop deflating pompous horse menudo (as he called it) and nothing raised his scathings like racism- tacit or in your face. On this subject he listened to very little before he began exhibiting his arms as his voice went up a few octaves. BUT his most effective weapon was always his ridicule which no one for me has ever matched. He was never intimidated by the rich, famous or even people he idolized, and would
approach them in conversation as if they had known each other quite well. The shock was that often they did- as I found out meeting Ike Turner, Cannonball Adderly and Jacques Cousteau in airports in his tow. There pretty much was not a decent stone unturned for him musically when he left California. Which brings me last to his unquenchable thirst to always be achieving in music. For the first decade I knew him he was one of the most impossibly tone deaf people I had ever met (I'm supposed to have "perfect" pitch). When he would try to sing, hum or whatever it was he did as he announced a tune like "Autumn in New York" the nasal whistling that came out of his mouth was close to atonal and certainly inhuman.. after his stint at music arrangement school he applied himself rigorously to learning to sing. I DIDNT even encourage him in the least, honestly because I have never seen anyone at his age accomplish this after a lifetime of yowling. BUT he did it!
How I will never know, except sheer will. Before he left he always insisted on at least singing "Bony Maronie" in Los Chumps sets and was working on a set of ballads which I have no doubt he graced Minneapolis with. I am so pleased he returned to jazz with a vengeance there because after all that was the only real area where all of his abilites could be showcased . His flaws were probably as noticeable as his outstanding attributes and frequently we tried each others limits painfully. I know I let him down badly on a few occaisions and that he did likewise for me, but there was never any bitterness regarding these times because we both accepted the natures of the beasts we were. HE taught me to believe in my abilities because HE believed in them and to this day his final approval means more to me than any other the planet could produce because it totally came from the heart of someone who loved music his whole life. ccc

6346 views and 4 responses

  • Dec 25 2009, 4:32 AM
    annegiles responded:
    Thank you for sharing this part of my Uncle Paul with me.
  • Dec 25 2009, 9:42 AM
    Art Resnick responded:
    Hear here!!!!
  • Dec 25 2009, 11:12 PM
    cheryl responded:
    Thanks, wish I could have met more of your family. Very glad to know he was so well loved. ccc

  • Dec 25 2009, 11:15 PM
    cheryl responded:
    Thanks, really could not do justice to Paul but wanted to take a small stab at it. Very glad to read everyone elses contributions- particularly because I knew of so few of you and could see he was just as much the guy I knew where he went as when he was here. Peace ccc