Indianapolis, Labor Day, 2007

That's the EXIF summary of these three photos. Here's the story behind them.

We had made a sad trip to Indiana after the death of my brother. A few years earlier, I had put together of CD of Joe singing some older standard tunes ("Songs We Almost Know," left, by Honest Joe Hensley and Bumbling Brother Tom), a task he did very well. At one time he had been a professional singer. That was before he became a professional lawyer, a professional prosecutor, a professional state legislator, a professional judge, and a professional author. 

We drove to Madison for his memorial service, where they played the CD we had recorded. I was proud that Joe had achieved something done by a very select few: he sang at his own funeral.

The next day, we drove to Indianapolis, where we were to meet drummer Jack Gilfoy for lunch. He had an afternoon gig across the street from the restaurant where we ate, so we strolled over to catch the show, which was part of a Labor Day marathon jazz event at the Jazz Kitchen, a well-known club in the town where I used to live and work.

We were early enough that the group which preceded Jack's was still playing. On the way to our table, we walked by the bandstand, where I recognized the wonderful pianist Claude Sifferlen playing. A bass solo was happening and Claude was typically looking down, but as we passed by, I caught his attention, He looked up and recognized me and I said to him: "You're too fucking good!" We shared a laugh. That was the last time I saw Claude, who died a couple of years later.

A few minutes later, the bandstand was changed for the Buselli–Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, a fine big band with lively, traditional charts. I had told Jack that if their pianist was late, I'd be happy to play a couple of tunes. Jack got up from the table and headed over to his drum set, but came right back to tell me that the pianist had, in fact, not shown up at all. Also, the book of piano charts was not there. So I ended up playing their whole big band set trying to read from the bass player's chart. Let's just say that I didn't sound my best, as usual. Afterwards, Jack said to me, "Be careful what you ask for."

That was also the last time I saw Jack Gilfoy. He died a year later, while we were touring Europe, and I didn't even get to attend his memorial. 

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