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Wester Potter

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I've been fortunate to have good friends who were fine musicians. I quit playing myself when I decided I'd rather dance with girls than play the music. Over almost seventy years I've enjoyed jazz and while living in Los Angeles I was able to get to know the folks who ran several of the jazz clubs like Shelley's Manne Hole, Donte's, The Lighthouse and Marty's on the Hill. I really enjoy big band music but lately I've become increasingly fond of piano jazz. That was triggered by a series at the Salt Lake City Hilton where concerts were staged featuring solo piano artists. Many were featured on the Jazz at Maybeck, Concord Jazz series. A video camera was rigged to show their hands on the keyboard as they played and the image was projected on a screen behind the podium. I've seen most of the greats. Dave Brubeck, George Shearing, Monty Alexnder, Mike Wofford, Gene Harris, Errol Garner, Red Garland, Billy Taylor and of course Oscar Peterson. I missed Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk and Art Tatum in person, something I regret. Locals like Craig Larson, Jimmy Reed and Larry Jackstien could play anywhere ... Bob Bailey has, a long time Hollywood studio guy. The Modern Jazz Quartet, The Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond, The Shelley Manne groups have been smaller group favorites and I've seen them many times in person. Friends who were radio DJ's made seeing concerts inexpensive and fun because I was able to meet the artists when they were interviewed. From Louis Armstrong to Don Ellis, Billy Mays to Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, I've loved the music they played. I'll never forget a Thanksgiving evening at The Lighthouse with the Gerald Wilson Band, a night in San Francisco at Basin Street West listening to Count Basie or nights at Lagoon north of Salt Lake City listening and dancing to Duke Ellington's great band. I was at the Monterey Jazz Festival the night The Duke was the master of ceremonies as well as fronting the featured band.

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