By Barry Louis Polisar, David Clark
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Additional info for The Trouble with Ben
Nine years her senior, Ernest played alto saxophone in North Eastern’s concert band, as well as in ensembles for local parties, dances, and amateur contests. ). By the time Alice was studying piano and playing at church, Ernest had switched to the acoustic bass, the instrument on which he would make a lasting contribution during his tragically abbreviated career as a professional musician. ) monument eternal / 32 Barry Harris, whom Ernest had befriended in his youth, recalled the day Ernest switched from saxophone to acoustic bass.
Now it’s still Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, It’s still those people that get played. Grieg and Mozart. ) Fortunately, Alice McLeod’s African American musical subculture gave her numerous opportunities to grow as an artist. Her teenage years spanned what the Detroit jazz historian Lars Bjorn and his colleague Jim Gallert (2001) have called the city ’s golden age, a period in which “the economy was booming and a take-care-of-business ethos ﬂourished amidst a peer group of young aspirants” (Panken 2000, 44).
Sessions in the Jones, McKinney, and Harris homes, for instance, were common (Bjorn and Gallert 2001, 130). Barry Harris would regularly gather the ﬁnest Detroit musicians in his family home to work on new concepts: “My mother was beautiful to all of us, Donald Byrd, Paul (Cambers) and Doug (Watkins). My house was a classroom. We could practice all we wanted” (quoted in Bourne 1985, 27). Harris explained: In Manhattan it’s mostly apartment buildings, and you can’t play an instrument in an apartment building.