Chapter 3 AN: I decided to come back to Boston. I had enough of being on the road. It is an exciting life, but it's kind of tough. You do your one-nighters, you're back on the bus. Back then things were not as comfortable as they are today. Buses were at a premium. You tried to do as much train travelling as you can, but you can't go out to the ballrooms, you have to have a car. So, what we would do, for an example to give you a simple illustration, we would come to Boston, stay at a hotel in Boston, and that would be a headquarters for the New England area. We would probably do a ballroom up in New Hampshire, come back and the next day travel up to Maine and come back, the next day probably go to western Massachusetts because all of the ballrooms were out. We did have ballrooms in the city, but to get out, and keep the band working, we had to move out, had to keep travelling. That was a tough thing. You are staying over at a hotel a lot, but many times you couldn't. I remember one scene when we were in the mid-west, we were doing a string of one-nighters, for about a week or two we could hardly stay at a hotel because the distance between engagements were four or five hundred miles. You just had enough time to get to the job, do the job, unpack and go off again. So that was tough grind, and there was a while when we couldn't get our shirts laundered, so we wore them inside out. We tried anyways. So that was fun. But as I say, it was a great experience, but enough gets to be enough. So, I came back to Boston, I worked for the different society bands here in Boston: Ruby Newman Orchestra and the Harry Marshard Orchestra. FB: Oh, sure. I remember those guys, we hired them for proms. AN: Absolutely. They sounded a lot like Lester Lanin, the businessman to beat. To work for them, you had to know quite of few of the songs by memory, the big show tunes and things of that nature because once you got going, you kept it going. It was like continuous music. FB: Right: it would be a long segue or suite. AN: That's right. You'd just go through and modulate one song to another and you gotta know them all by memory. And you learn to fake the second part or the third part in harmony. So that was a whole new experience. FB: Tough on the rhythm section. No let up, the pianist is always modulating into the keys. You get guys like Bob Winter and Dave McKenna, were fabulous. AN: Absolutely, Ray Santisi. Oh yeah, you kept that time going. So that was another experience working with them. And then I worked the clubs around Boston, quite a few clubs. You know, it's amazing, we have a good number of jazz clubs, but yet we also had a good number of clubs that weren't really classified as jazz clubs, but the musicians play jazz. So it's a place where, at that time during the war, WWII, we had a lot of service guys in Boston -- Navy, Marines soldiers and so forth -- would frequent these cafes or restaurants and they all had live music and all had fine musicians and they played jazz, but it wasn't a jazz club. I did that for a while, before I decided to get a group of my own going. Of course you remember the old jazz clubs we had here -- The Ken Club, The Savoy, Wally's (which is still in operation after all these years, so many years I can't think of it.) FB: Izzy Ort’s, The Businessman's Lounge, The Stables. AN: That came afterwards. The Stables as you know was created by Herb Pomeroy, Ray Santisi and Vaad (Haritunium), they created the Jazz Workshop, which was on Huntington Avenue. Then from there they opened the new room on Boylston Street before Prudential Center, it was right across the street from Prudential Center. And I'm drying up a bit. FB: We got a coffee for you too here, Al. AN: So the jazz clubs moved on Boylston Street, The Stables, which we called 'The Stables'. The opening night the opening act they had for the first week was Stan Getz and from then on strictly big-name jazz. You name your jazz player and they all worked there. And a year or two later, well, about a year later, the owners decided to expand to the other room, the other part of the (sylabit) gave it a different name, they called it Paul's Mall. FB: Tell us about that. AN: Well, I was booked to work there with my group. I had a quartet at that time and I kind of emulated the Jonah Jones type music, because that's what it called for. FB: So this is sort of the businessman's bounce, pared down to a little, tight group: three, four. AN: That's correct. And it was a nice room and the theme they tried to get in the room was like a penthouse, they tried to call it the Underground Penthouse, which sounds absurd, but that's what they created. They were very inventive and along the wall they had some creation where you could see the light change from dusk to dawn within a circle, a certain period of time. So it was great. It was unique. We did very well and I worked there for about a year or two. FB: You were there every night? AN: Every night, six nights a week. FB: So you'd go like 6 to 8[pm] and then the main act would come on, or how would it go? AN: What happened, the type of entertainment they had was basically comedians, I am talking about Paul's Mall and they were all young at that time. So our first comedian was Henny Youngman, he was the first one to open. FB: "Take my wife, please!" AN: That's right and we worked behind him for a week, and then we had, who was just starting up, Flip Wilson, who was wonderful. "The devil made me do it," that was his expression. Very funny guy. And to top it off, followed by a guy name of George Carlin. Young guy, but very witty, he was a genius. And you know -- what can I say about him? He just became world-renowned. FB: This is now, when are we talking? This is the early 60’s now? AN: I would say so, yeah. He was a great guy, George. So I did all that type of work at that period. So my experiences kept expanding all the time, which was great. And then I worked, as I mentioned earlier, with a Latin band at the Latin Quarter. And that was an exciting thing, the band leader, Mike Ventri, he organized the band and used just three trumpets and rhythm. He played piano and he got his rhythm section, he got three or four guys from Cuba and took them to America. FB: So conga, timbales -- the whole nine yards. AN: The conga drums, that was exciting, we had the three trumpets and the Latin rhythm. FB: That was the golden age, when those guys started coming across the pond to Miami, Mario Bauzá and all of them. They descended on New York and then they just spread out. AN: Very exciting era at that time. FB: This is when Ray Barretto joined George Shearing. AN: I would guess so. FB: Probably around the early ‘50s. AN: That's when they did the Latin rhythm “Tea for Two". FB: I am sorry, Armando Peraza. AN: You remember that Latin rhythm "Tea for Two" which became a big hit? FB: Sure. AN: Well, around that era. FB: Is that pre-cha cha? AN: No, just about the same era. FB: Okay, Pérez Prado. AN: Pérez Prado, "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" FB: Big, big hit. AN: So we did a lot of that. FB: I remember dancing to that with a white tuxedo on and a pink boutoniere. AN: You did?! FB: Cha cha cha. Oh yeah. I was in the audience. AN: Was that graduation night? FB: It was high school. Tremendous, the Latin influence started then and continued in various guises throughout the years: we had the Brazilian thing in the sixties; and then there was the Mexican stuff, the Herb Alpert thing that you participated in or relaunched in Boston. AN: Yeah, I did very well with that.