Where simple thoughts and wonderful memories are conjoined, to create a sparkle of luminous joy to all those who want to remember, reminisce, care, and share about the times that we used to know and cherish before
Monday, November 08, 2010
Stuart de Silva
Sunday Observer Aug 23, 2009
A legendary pianist
by Mahes PERERA
Pianist Stuart de Silva never dreamt that the day will dawn for his return to his roots. But it did. After a long, long stay in Sydney, now his second home, Stuart decided that he was going to make it - much to his delight and to the happiness of his family in Sri Lanka plus his friends, including his musician friends who missed his piano artistry and his sense of humour which funnily is and has always been an asset of musicians.
Stuart de Silva at the piano at the Galadari Hotel.The Hotel celebrates its 25th anniversary in October this year. - Pic: Sudath Nishantha.
Seated at the piano at the Galadari Hotel, the piano that he played when the Galadari Meridien first opened to the public in 1984 memories flashed by swiftly in Stuart's mind. "It's the same piano I played on when the hotel first opened. I played at the lobby with my trio, Farook Miskin on drums and Nihal Jayawardena played bass. I thought may be the Hotel would have changed the piano but I'm glad they haven't done it. Alston Joachim too played bass for me. It's sheer nostalgia now - the many friends I made who came to hear me and who enjoyed my music. The General Manager of the Galadari Meridien then was Steffan Pfeiffer while the Food and Beverage Manager was Roland Caroot. I played at the lobby for ten months before I was requested to play at the Rooftop Restaurant and I had Jean van Heer as my vocalist. At the restaurant I played the organ. The restaurant's interior decor has changed since I was last there - many moons ago! Quite naturally! Stuart de Silve's piano artistry has always been individualistic. He never looked towards other pianists for fashioning of ideals. You can with confidence say that he never copied or attempted to flirt with new theories. His solos sparkled with a freshness that displayed his imagination, technique and elaborate variations. He has had his classical musical foundation from Hugo Wagen and the three Hungarian brothers who started the Colombo Symphony Orchestra. But his goal was jazz. He enjoyed the music of Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Billie Holliday, Carmen Mc Rae, Sarah Vaughn and 'greats' in that category. In his early years here in Sri Lanka he performed with his own trios and was involved in shows on concert stages and radio. According to him the most popular radio show was 'Airwaves' sponsored bu Gillette broadcast on the Commercial Service. "The programme was a half hour one and featured a group with Gazzali Amit - guitar, Cass Ziard - drums, Jimmy van Sanden - bass and myself on piano. It was here that singer Yolande Wolff now Yolande Bavan was launched. Over the months the personnel changed. Mervyn Sherrinton replaced Gazzali and later Percy Barthholomuez stepped in. The bassist Jimmy van Sanden moved out and Tony Blake took over." Stuart had a long stint with impressario Donovan Andree's many night club music presentations. Greenhouse and The Orchid Room at the Victoria Park (now Vihara Maha Devi Park) brought luck for Stuart. The famous pianist Dave Brubeck and his Quartet performed at the Orchid Room and Brubeck having heard Stuart offered him a scholarship to Berklee College in the States for further studies, in Jazz compositions. You were out of Sri Lanka for quite some time what happened after Berklee? "I worked at many jazz clubs in England including the Flamingo Jazz Club, got an opportunity to go to Paris and play at the Mars Club, toured Europe in solo performances or with trios. I made a short visit to Sri Lanka in '83 and then moved over to Singapore and Hong Kong to perform at gigs before I decided to leave for Sydney in '86". In Sydney did you continue with music? "Yes I did free lance work at the Soup Plus, the oldest jazz club in Sydney, the Basement, played with other trios and quartets. While all this was happening I switched for a change to play the role of a Manager of a restaurant, studied Travel Management at Quantas and worked at a Publishing Company doing editorial work for a magazine. I retired from the Company and now I'm concentrating on writing short stories and a thesis on the Mathematics of Ancient Egypt. It's a far cry from music you'll say, but I continue my music on a free lance basis." You've heard our musicians during your stay here could you comment? "I was highly impressed on the quality of the keyboardists I heard - like Dilukshi Sirimane and Kumar de Silva. Unfortunately I couldn't hear Harsha Makalande. I wish I could have. Alston Joachim bassist is in good form, so is Revel Crake guitarist. It was a pleasure to meet up with Dylan Lye and Hassen Musafer after so many years and play along with them." A legendary pianist it was inspiring to meet up with Stuart and have a pow wow with him after more than two decades. Most of the music he played was his own and what stood out was despite a complex style of phrasing, which is characteristic of him, he never lost the spontaneous desire to swing. Hope you'll be back in Sri Lanka soon! #####
In 1959, arrived in London. Worked with my
3 month stint with the Johnny Dankworth Big Band on tour of UK (the Band
included Danny Moss, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Napper, Alan Ganley.The singer was
Cleo Laine. Johnny approached me at Jackie Sharpes’s Downbeat Club (a Private
Club open only to Jazz Musicians, so not subject to the Licensing hours that
prevailed at the time. Jackie’s was open from 2pm onwards till late at night),
offered me the gig, explaining that Dave Lee (his pianist) had gone back to S.
Africa and that he was waiting for Dudley Moore to join the Band after his
Doctorate from Oxford, which is why the 3 month “stop gap” gig.
- 6 week gig (Friday & Saturday, midnite
to 4am) with my Quartet at Jeff Kruger’s Flamingo Club featuring US Air Force
alto sax player Lenny Harris (sounded like Lou Donaldson). The 7pm to 11pm
sessions had the Ike & Tina Turner Band
during this stint.
drummer was Rudy Bernardo, (Phillipines born, but came to Ceylon in 1949,
finally got Citizenship and worked with my Trio there) and Ricky Fernandez
(born in Singapore) on bass. They were working with session guitarist/trombone
Cedric West (born in Burma, a fine Bebop musician who had worked with the famed
Teddy Weatherford Band in India and Ceylon in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s)
at the Embassy Club in New Bond Street ( their gig ended at 11pm because of the
subbed for awhile, till I left to do my own thing, with that Band, “Cedric West
& His Eastern Five”, which had Cedric playing both guitar and trombone,
Olaf Vaz (Goanese , but born in Kenya) or Pablo “Paul” Gonzalez (from
Singapore)-saxes, Rudy Bernardo and Ricky Fernandez. Prior to this with the
Band had been a fine two handed modern pianist from Hong Kong, David Ng, who had
decided to go settle in Denmark.
- 2 weeks at “100”Oxford Street, with my
Quintet (Jimmy Deuchar (trpt) Joe Harriott (alto sax) Bobby Orr (drums) Tony
Archer(bass). We featured a lot of Horace Silver charts (Horace had sent me 25
charts to work on), including Sister Sadie, Cooking at the Continental, Juicy
Lucy, Senor Blues, Peace – I think it was the first time Horace’s tunes were played
in London. I went back for a further 2 week stint, this time using Stuart &
Ian Hamer (trpts) and Derek Humble (alto), same rhythm section. I did the
arrangements from the piano charts Horace sent me.
-1 week at New Orleans Club in Park Lane in
duo with Joseph Reinhardt (Django’s brother, who played rhythm guitar with the
Quintet). We did a one hour set per night. Joseph had never taken a solo, only
playing Rhythm guitar with his brother Django’s Hot Club of France Quintet.
What was amazing to me was that his solos were more reminiscent of Miles Davis’
phrasing of the mid ‘50’s.
some gigs with Joe Harriott’s Experience, a Band that included Indian Tabla
& Sitar and *Shake Keane(trpt), Joe (Plastic alto) Coleridge Goode (bass)
Phil Seaman(drums). I never got to record with this Band because by that time I
was doing my own thing. Pat Smythe took over on piano.
Keane lived in the apartment below me in Kentish Town and we spent a great deal
of time discussing not only music, but, Philosophy and other personal
disciplines. He had a Doctorate in English from Oxford and was erudite and
articulate in a wide range of subjects.
was living at Rudy Bernardo’s at the time. In the flat next door, Ricky
Fernandez and our own Frosty Van Langenberg were sharing, so we, Rudy & I,
would go over and rehearse with them from the Jazz Fake Book charts every day.
Frosty was working with Edmundo Ros at the time, until his untimely and sad
death. What a Great bass player he was!
the occasional gig with my Trio, with Tony Archer (bass) and a young Ginger Baker, who was very heavily
influenced by the Great Phil Seamen, at the Ronnie Scott Club in Gerard Street
(the original Ronnie Scott Club, before Norman Granz bought in and they moved
into the very up-market premises in Frith Street). I also led a Trio with Spike
Heatley or Jeff Klein on bass, on various gigs around London and the suburban
the meantime, I had met Bobby Wellins and Duncan Lamont, who had just arrived
from Scotland, in Archer Street, (how well I remember Archer Street on Mondays,
where musicians used to meet) and we decided to do something about bringing
some of the younger talents onto the London Jazz Scene, which had been a closed
shop for too long.
this end, we found the Strip Club, “Spider’s Web”, off Berwick Street in Soho,
where the owner was a keen jazz fan and agreed to let us use his premises for the
younger generation of Jazz, after his Club closed at 11pm. We met 6 nites a
week, going non-stop till literally day-break. Some of the younger musos who
were there: Bobby Wellins, Duncan Lamont, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Olaf Vaz, Dick
Morrisey (tnr sax) Gus Galbraith, Harry Becket, Ian & Stuart Hamer, Tony
Carr, (trpts), young Peter King (fantastic alto), Gordon Beck (piano), Tony
Archer, Spike Heatley, Rick Laird, Jeff Klein and “Jinx” Jenkins (Trinidad
born) (bass), Herman Wilson (Jamaican born trombonist, with whose Jamaican All
Stars I toured Germany in late ‘59 and early ‘60 ), drummers Ginger Baker,
Bobby Orr, Dicky Devere, and Dave Smallman, and a host of aspiring young cats.
Word got around and Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Joe Harriott, Phil Seamen, Tony
Crombie, and others would turn up to jam.
started to get some well-earned publicity in the Musical Press. Bob Dawbarn
from Melody Maker did regular front page articles on my gigs, and Tony Hall
wrote an article in MM,”Stuart de
Silva- the Leader of the Beat Generation in Jazz”. Max Jones did some
interviews on my movements for MM; likewise, so did Valerie Kilmer for Jazz
the meantime, I was also hunting around the record shops for any new music. I
was at Doug Dobell’s in Charing Cross Road, when I spotted Ornette Coleman’s
Something Else album. Listened to it, bought it and took it to Ronnie’s in
Gerard Street. Naturally, I got shouted and ranted at from all and sundry. This
led to a very heated exchange in Jazz Journal between Harry Klein and myself,
which carried on through 3 issues, where he accused me of having a “plastic
head”, because of Ornette playing a Plastic Selmer alto. What he hadn’t
realised was that in the May 16th ,1953 recording of Jazz At Massey Hall,
Charlie Parker had hocked his horn and the only instrument they could get was
this same Plastic Selmer alto. Turned out to be one of the Greatest recordings
of Bird, Diz, Bud, Max and Mingus ever! And that Joe Harriot was also playing
the same instrument on the London Jazz scene.
because of the Ornette’s recording and the heated publicity in the British
music press and in Downbeat where Quincy Jones, John Lewis, Charlie Mingus and
Gunther Schuller came out in his favour, I met Daniel Halperin, Canadian-born
editor of the Guardian newspaper, who was at Ronnie Scott’s almost every night,
and, together we started a campaign to get Vogue records, which released the US
Contemporary records in the UK, to release three more albums by Ornette.
Amazingly, to us and Vogue, their initial issues of 1000 copies were sold out
within 48 hours. Then, Vogue went into high gear!
also recall the day I took Miles’ Kind of Blue and Coltrane’s Giant Steps albums
to Ronnie’s in Gerard Street and got shouted down again. The irony was that,
when Miles did arrive with his Great Quintet, Benny Green* reviewed the Concert
for the Sunday Times, where he bombastically stated: “the only good thing about John Coltrane was the burnished gold of his
saxophone!” Ah Benny! Blinkers-on arrogance has no peers!
Green played tenor sax and was in the Tubby Hayes Big Band with Ronnie Scott
1959, Leonard Feather’s Jazz from Carnegie show was in London. Included:
Phineas Newborn, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz, Jay Jay
Johnson, and Clark Terry. Red Garland
was booked for the gig, but had a fear of flying, so he was coming by ship and
wouldn’t join the tour till Germany.
I got to know Oscar Pettiford, and Kenny Clark
on the tour. What happened was curious. I took my bass player, Ricky Fernandez,
a very fine bass player who idolized OP. When I introduced them OP said
something that perplexed me: he said to Ricky, “You can have my gig anytime,
Master!” It was only much later that I realised that Ricky Fernandez was an
exact clone, in physiognomy and humble attitude, of Jimmy Blanton (Ricky passed
away in Scotland in the ‘60’s). Plus the fact that Ricky had only one suit, his
Tux, which he wore all day, sans bow-tie till gig time.
remember going down to Rick Gunnel’s Jazz Club at the Mapleton, off Leicester
Square, with Klook and OP, and doing a memorable set (Trio) there with them,
where Johnny Dankworth joined us for the last two. Johnny’s offer to my joining
his Band came just after this.
As a result of our meeting, OP and Klook
offered me a gig in Paris with them and Lucky Thompson. That happened in early 1961. They sent me the ticket.
that 2-week gig, I joined Herb Geller’s (alto sax) Quartet, with Donald Brown
(Jamaican born) on drums and Al King
(African-American) on bass, to play at a Lesbian Club (where Males were
allowed), for a month’s gig. Our second
week there, we were approached by Mr. Nasser from Beirut in Lebanon, to sign up
a Jazz Trio for the opening of the Phoenix Hotel there, to do 2 x half-hour
sets as an introduction to Dorothy Dandridge (lead star in Porgy & Bess,
the movie). I signed the Contract that same night. It was a fantastic deal: Air
Fares return from Paris, 3 weeks gig, accommodation at the Hotel, Tax-Free Cash
in Hand, US $100, per musician per night. I took Donald Brown and Al King with
me, featured as the Stuart de Silva Trio from Paris.
our return from Beirut, Donald suggested we stop in Milano in Italy, where he
knew a Jazz Club where we might get a gig. The Santa Tekla in Milano had the Romano
Mussolini Trio (son of the Il Ducé
and married to Sophia Loren’s sister), a fine modern-jazz piano player. We
played a Trio set and were offered a 2 week gig there, alternating with Romano.
night, Chet Baker came in, heard us and offered a gig with him and Bobby Jaspar
at the soon to be opened Chet Baker Club
in Milano. He told us the movie Director Vittorio de Sica was planning to
do a movie on his, Chet’s, life and was opening the Club in a couple of weeks.
To say the least, the Club was oppulent! Chandeliers around the room, velvet drapes
and leather lounge seats. Nothing like a Jazz Club one could imagine. Plus,alas, an upright piano on the bandstand! The opening night was fantastic:
the elite of Milano Society were
there, drinking Chivas and Dom
Perignon. The next few nights were a disaster.
gig was from 8pm to midnight. After the opening night, the place was packed,
but no sign of Chet or Bobby. We played Trio sets till about 11 pm, then, they
would turn up to play the last lack-lustre set. After a week of this, we, the
Trio, decided to get out and return to Paris, which we did the very next day.
On my return, I moved into the Mars Club in
Paris, when Aaron Bridgers, (whom I
had befriended in Ceylon, when Aaron, playing solo piano came there on a 2
month’s appearance with Marie Bryant’s “Parisian Follies” in 1952, a Revue
which included a Dance Chorus from the Follies Bergére, a fine vocalist, Diane
Quiseekay, whose repertoire was all Duke Ellington, and a host of others,
performing at the Nite Club where I was playing with my Trio) offered me the
piano chair, playing solo piano, sharing the gig with my mentor, the fantastic
African-American piano player ART SIMMONS, 7 nights a week from 10pm to 5 am,
in alternating 1 hour sets.. When Aaron returned from the States, he asked me
to stay on, that he had other gigs lined up. Art moved on to the Living Room in
late 1963, where he shared the gig with Aaron Bridgers for a while, then with
other French piano players, like Maurice Vander, Réné Utreger, Eddie Lewis. When Art was hospitalised in 1966, he asked
me to take his place and make sure that no other pianist would ‘steal’ his gig,
which I did.
stayed on that gig at the Mars till 1965, when the Club closed for good.
in the mid-to-late ‘60’s, Timmie Rosenkrantz from Radio Denmark did a recording
session of solo pianists in Paris (read ex-pats) which included the Great
stride-piano player Joe Turner, Martial Solal, Aaron Bridgers, Claude Bolling
and myself, for Danish Radio. Sadly, all efforts to get a copy of this have
failed, due to the early demise of Timmie Rosenkrantz.
Duke Ellington recorded the same piano
players, plus Michel Sardaby and Errol Parker in what he wanted to call
“A Tribute of Billy Strayhorn from his friends in Paris” ( Billy being very
sick at the time in New York). We started recording at 6.30 am in Paris. Each
of us was asked by Duke to play a Blues and one of our own compositions. I
played “Blues for Billy & Duke” and “A Grain of Sand” (from an aphorism I
had written: “A grain of sand in the
Oyster of life, through the pressures of Time, can become a Pearl of Wisdom”).
We were accompanied by Duke’s rhythm section of John Lamb (bass) and Rufus
Jones (drums). Again, not months after Duke left for the States, he passed
away. The recording was never released. And again, all efforts to trace this
have been of no avail. However, David Sansoni, a fine bass player, (Sri Lankan,
living in Sydney) did send me an article he found on the Internet referring to
this session, where I am mentioned
just a few days ago, on the 15th July, 2012, after months of hitting
dead-ends in my search, I finally connected with the Duke Ellington Memorial Society, in Brussels, Belgium, of all
places, where the Ellington Archives now are. The Caretaker, Sjef Hoesmit,
replied immediately that he did have the recording and that he had copied the entire session for me onto 2CD’s which
he has mailed to me that day! The recording, under Duke’s supervision, was
made, starting at 6.30am, on 11th March, 1967, in
Paris. 45 years ago! I was just a
few days short of my 33rd birthday. I should get it in a few days.
What a Blast!!.
a month’s gig with Sonny Criss at Jazzland in Paris. This was followed by a
month’s gig at the same venue, playing solo piano on the same programme as the
Johnny Griffin Quartet with Art Taylor & the Ornette Coleman Trio (David
Izensohn-bass & Charles Moffat-drums) (1966).
I worked with Kansas Field’s Trio at Birdland in Paris. Right next door, at the
Chat Qui Peche, (where I had started my Parisian sojourn with Lucky Thompson,
Pettiford and Kenny Clarke) was the Eric Dolphy Quintet with Donald Bird and
Hammond organist Larry Young. Dolphy and I became close friends. When he passed
away on that gig in Berlin, Gerry Gray-Wardell Gray’s widow-, then married to
Swedish trombonist Ake Perrson (who was working with the Berlin Radio
Orchestra), phoned me to give me the news, saying Eric had talked a lot of his
friendship with me.
1967, acted as Ranji in Joseph Strick’s Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller’s life
in Paris) with Rip Torn, Ellen Burnstein and others.
December 1968, at pianist Joe Turner’s recommendation, did a 3-week stint at
the New Orleans Restaurant in Manchester, England, playing and singing.
back in 1966 to London for Humphrey Littleton’s BBC Jazz Club Broadcast with
Trio. The programme was Harry South’s Band and my Trio.
Joined Joe Harriett’s Quintet (Ian Carr-trpt,
Phil Seaman–drms, Coleridge Goode-bass) for the Commonwealth Jazz Festival,
then went on tour of UK with them for 3 weeks.
my Agent, as Solo Piano/Singer, from 1967 through 1984, worked Piano Jazz Bars
in Toronto, Abidjan, Monrovia, Cairo, Beirut, Tangiers, Tehran, Dubai, Zurich,
Brussels, Palma de Majorca, Barcelona, Algeciras, Malaga, Guadalmina, Rome,
Milano, Genoa, Pescara, Naples, Taormina, Munich, Dusseldorf, Koln, Stuttgart, Hong
Kong for the Meridien, Hilton & Sheraton chains. This period included 6
month stints at the Casinos of Divonne-Les-Bains and Cannes. I also worked with a Jazz Trio in some of
these cities in Concerts and Club appearances.
Barcelona, the Flamenco Jazz Club, with my Trio (Ron Jefferson and later Lex
Humphries on drums) for 10 months, where Stefan Grapelli, Pony Poindexter,
Dakota Stanton, Memphis Slim, Harold Nicholas (of the famed Nicholas Brothers)
and others were featured guests accompanied by my Trio. Tété Monteliu (an
amazing blind pianist from Barcelona, who later recorded with Raashan Roland
Kirk, Ben Webster and Don Byas) and his Trio was the other pianist.
Zurich, worked the Hotel Splendide (a great room where the piano was in the
centre of the room and the seating arranged to the shape of the piano), and in
alternating 3 month gigs with Hanno’s Jazz Piano Club in Munich, playing solo
and singing, which covered my year’s bookings. (4 consecutive years). *Jimmy
Woode II, a dear friend from the Paris days, who was then living between Munich
and Zurich, would bring his bass and sit in quite regularly.
*Jimmy Woode II, came to Paris with
Duke Ellington’s Band to make the movie Paris Blues. He left the Band, deciding
to stay on in Paris, because there was a dearth of ex-pat bass players in Paris
at the time. He free lanced around, ending up in Germany with the Kenny Clarke-Francy
Boland Big Band and free-lancing between Munich and Zurich, where he ended up
living till he passed away.
Hanno’s Piano Club in Munich was a great
experience. Behind the piano was a wall-panel of photographs of ALL the great
Jazz piano players ( 1½ metres high by 1 metre wide) which had James P Johnson,
W.C. Handy, Joe Turner, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Billy
Strayhorn, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Bud Powell, Horace Silver and many others I can’t recall. On my very
first 3 month gig there, within the first week, the place was packed. It was
then that the owner, Heinz Bótticher, insisted that I get my photograph done to
fill in the very last panel, which was empty. Even today, I can’t tell
you the honour I feel of being placed with the Greats, since I was the only piano player on that wall who had never recorded.
The Club was at 26, Franz Strasse, off Ludwig Strasse in Munich, upstairs from
the Haus von 101 Bieres. I don’t know if
it is still running.
Germany, a 6-week tour with the Buddy Tate (ex-Basie) Quintet in Club dates, concerts
and Radio broadcasts. The group was Tate (tnr) “Wild Bill” Davidson (trpt) and
German drummer and bass. We also did a live Concert for Stuttgart Radio, which
I believe was recorded.
major Jazz Festivals;
at Juan-Les-Pins ( South of France) –with my Trio. Bands: the Dizzy Gillespie
Big Band & Quintet, Jimmy Smith Trio, Horace Silver Quintet, Fats Domino,
Tubby Hayes Quintet and others. Present
here was Randi Hultin, a
Jazz-musician and photographer from Finland, who took a series of photographs
with me and some of the Great musicians who were there. Later, in Paris, she
told me she had them. She passed away, but, I believe her son is in charge of
her Archives. I still haven’t been able to get a contact for him, but am
Liguria (near Genoa, Italy) with my Trio. Bands: the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Ted
Curson Quartet, Johnny Griffin/Art Taylor Quartet, Joachim Kuhn/Enrico Rava
1973: at Bolgnia, Italy- with my Trio.
Bands: Cannonball/Nat Adderly Quintet,
Dave Brubeck quartet with Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Mingus with Eric Dolphy &
Ted Curson, The BeBop All Stars ( Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Thelonius Monk, Art
Blakey & Al McGibbon), Phil Woods, with whom I did a set.
Pescara (on the Adriatic, Italy) - with my Trio. Bands: the Miles Davis Group
(with Indian Tabla & Sitar), the Kenny Drew Quartet with Dexter Gordon/Art
Taylor, Jackie Byard Trio, the Mingus Big Band, Freddie Hubbard/Junior Cook
Quintet and others.
this gig, stayed on in Pescara at the Hotel Splendide Rooftop Piano Club, as
resident Solo piano/Singer, originally for 3 months, extended to 10 months,
when I had to leave on (better paid) gig to Taormina, Sicily.While I was in
Pescara, Teddy Wilson came into town
and stayed at the same Hotel. At his
insistence, he invited me to appear at the Sulmona
Jazz Conecrt he was to be featured in, where I would share the stage with
him, both in Trio format,using his rhythm section.
1985, having been fed-up with living in Hotel rooms the world over, returned to
Sri Lanka. Residency, thanks to my dear friend and great drummer, Aruna
Siriwardene, at the Galadari *Meridien with my Trio in the Lobby Bar (Farouk
Miskin-drums, first with Errol Mulholland on bass, followed by Alston Joachim
on Fender, finally with *Nihal Jayewardene-Fender bass).*Nihal had been with
Sri Lankan Navy Band, where he played both bass and tenor sax. Although he had
never been a serious Jazz player, he told me ‘if I don’t know the tune, I will watch and follow your left hand
harmonies’. He certainly did a great job.
Later, at the Rooftop Restaurant on Hammond Organ
and Jean Van Heer –vocals). A year’s residency at the hotel. A live Stereo Broadcast
recording of a Concert for SLBC, with Mahes Perera of JU as MC, at the Galdari-Meridien
is on Disc 2 of my CD.
Hotels were owned by Air France and I had the gig in their Jazz Piano Lobby for
the opening of their Flagship Hotel in Paris, thanks to my dear friend Simone
Ginibre, Jazz vocalist extraordinaire and
later Jazz impressario (who later
became George Wein’s European Agent for
Jazz From Newport), who was Music Director for the Hotel, appearing
opposite Milt Buckner(Organ) and Sam Woodyard Duo.
Immigrated to Australia in 1986. Did gigs, but decided to broaden my scope
because the gigs were few and far between. Managed the Ceylon Curry Restaurant,
followed by Manager of the Caribbean Kitchen, then got Qantas trained for a
Travel Agency as Manager, and, finally-till retirement age- as Administrative
Co-ordinator in a Magazine Publishing Group (Reed Publishing).