Smile

Memorabilia rediscovered

Old friends recently moved and mementos stored long ago were rediscovered. One photo was from our days at UBC.

PHOTO COPYRIGHT RESERVED

Wondering if people could identify which person was the future Prime Minister of Canada, I put the 1966 photograph on Twitter. Regular In-Sights commenter Lew Edwardson provided a witty response. I think it’s worth sharing:

Interesting photo. Ignoring other clues, by staring at it long enough you can convince yourself at times that the kneeler is Joe Clark, shirtless is Justin Trudeau, lady getting her hem kissed is Kim Campbell, and the guy with the big pumpkin type hat is Stephen Harper.

My friend also found a Vancouver supper club menu we had signed backstage by three famous jazz masters, circa 1965.

According to BBC Music Magazine, saxophonist Stan Getz (1927-1991) ranked among the top of all time. He was a big name in 1950s jazz and later became “synonymous with the infectious, tuneful rhythms of bossa nova.”

In the mid-1960s, youthful vibraphonist Gary Burton (b. 1943) was already a highly regarded instrumentalist and drummer Joe Hunt (b, 1938) played with the best. After Getz, Hunt joined the trio headlined by Bill Evans, one of the most influential jazz pianists of all time.

Artists at the top of the entertainment world were common in Vancouver before Las Vegas became the centre of the performing universe. At a time when few locations were allowed to serve liquor openly, supper clubs Isy’s and The Cave were licensed. That allowed them to generate dollars to hire major talent. Based on drink prices, I’m betting performers’ fees were ultra modest compared to amounts paid today.


Categories: Smile

3 replies »

  1. Had my first (illegal) drink at The Cave in 1964. I was 16; the three friends I was with were similar age. We were there to see The Modern Jazz Quartet (Lionel Hampton is all I can remember). I had a Manhattan, because Mike Hammer was drinking them in a book I’d just read, and he was cool.

    Other than hating the drink and enjoying the music it was an enjoyable evening, but the only time I graced The Cave’s floor. A year later, Simon Fraser University opened and I (eventually) got me an education. Jefferson Airplane headlined their welcome fest, and Manhattans, MJQ and trying to be cool was no longer in my mind.

    $1.10 was a decent amount of money in 1964.

    Keep up the good work, Norm. You’re actually one of the very few journalists left that deserve that designation.

    Mike

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    • I remember many fine evenings at Vancouver’s Cave and Isy’s supper clubs. A number of regulars performed at the clubs. Rolf Harris was a great deal of fun and American keyboardist and singer Earl Grant was one of my favourites. I didn’t see her, but Mitzi Gaynor always seem to garner much attention for her show at the Cave.

      List of artists who performed at The Cave

      My friends and I were at those clubs numerous times and though underage, were never asked for ID. Mind you, as students, we couldn’t afford to drink much in bars or nightclubs so the waiters tended to ignore us.

      $1 or so for a drink was not inexpensive. Bar whisky cost about $6 a bottle in 1964, or less than 25¢ for one ounce of booze. Unlicensed clubs in Vancouver depended on selling set-ups, which were glasses filled with ice or mixer. Customers added their own alcohol.

      We were at the the Blue Horn jazz club, a small unlicensed place on Broadway, to see Moe Koffman. He was probably most famous for playing flute on his Swinging Shepherd Blues hit. I remember being amazed when Koffman blew two saxophones at once on Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Men. It was that night I think that newspaperman Jack Wasserman and friends sat down beside us. A server dropped ice filled glasses and very quickly a brown paper bag was passed around. The table’s glasses were filled with brown liquid. Well practiced folks, I think.

      I do remember being at the Blue Horn late one night in 1966 when members of Duke Ellington’s band turned up after playing downtown. A couple of musicians sat down at our table and it became clear these guys didn’t live a healthy lifestyle. Another night, Charlie Mingus led a group of musicians at the Blue horn but the music was somewhat disastrous because none of them were close to sober.

      Of course, one bad thing about those days is that after-hours clubs spilled a lot of impaired people out by closing time and many got in their cars and drove home. Some never made it.

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    • Quote: “Keep up the good work, Norm. You’re actually one of the very few journalists left that deserve that designation.”

      I second this!

      The “Eye” recently had a telephone conversations with a reporter (media not mentioned to avoid embarrassment) and the person told me openly that all controversial issues must be vetted from back east. Transit issues, except for news releases or police issues, were taboo. The list that was not allowed to report on was so long that to call the so called reporter anything but “pitch-man” would be too generous.

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