clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

18th and Vine

I saw Ella Fitzgerald at an outdoor concert one fine fall evening thirty years ago. I remember sitting in the seats with a buddy so early no one was at the venue but the staff wiping down the seats from a washing with a fire hose.

I wrote a quick story outline on the back of the program for the performance about a young man in town to drive for his uncle - hired to kill a Civella gangster. In the story set at the venue, the kid meets a young girl there to listen to the concert who turns out to be the gangster's niece. Star-crossed.

It wasn't a story I ever put in full form. It was just a piece I outlined and thought about as I waited for the little combo to finish tuning. I remember it clearly though. I remember my tiny scrawl in ultra-fine cross ballpoint across all the whitespace in the little program.

Ella put on a double concert that night. Joe Pass -  the other half of the bill - was ill and so she did four sets. I suspect my gangster story came from Joe's bio in the program. [ Sicilian ].

Great night. I remember the smell of popcorn. I'll have to write that story sometime.

You should listen to a little jazz tonight as you warm up to write late into the morning. It'll give you the strength to feel what you need to feel for the page.

Good night, Ella.

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