Thanks Steve Johnson for that memory of my favourite jazz room. I
immigrated to the US from the UK in 1959. I first heard of Herb
Pomeroy's band at the Stables on Willis Conover's show on Voice of
America. He played two albums (Life Is A Many Splendored Gig and Band
In Boston), so when I heard Pomeroy played regularly at the Stables
that was the first place I stopped by. What a great band.
Subsequently I became aware of Lennie's, and spent many happy hours
there. I was there for a New Year's Eve gig with Woody Herman's band
- $25/couple - but I don't remember hearing a honk.
Again, many thanks for recalling the atmosphere of that place. It was
perhaps the best jazz room ever.
... to which Steve replies:
Your memories of that fabulous room are the same as mine. I have never again found a better jazz venue; the closest was Baker's Keyboard in Detroit and that was back in the 60s. It's probably gone now, just as Lennie's is.
When Lennie put a big band in that room, it was unbelievable! Basie was great but I liked Woody Herman the best. He always had a bunch of "kids" just starting out in their careers, in his bands. They tried harder, it seemed, and you never knew what you were going to hear... but it was always super!
The Sables was a cool, dark and intimate, downstairs place; a perfect place for a big, swinging band. If you want to hear some really great sounds from the Stables era, get a hold of the CD "Boston Blow-Up" on Capitol Jazz. It features the Serge Chaloff Sextet with Herb Pomeroy, Boots Mussulli, Ray Santisi and Jimmy Zitano; all the guys from Herb's band. Chaloff died young, I never got to hear him in person, but he was an unbelievable baritone sax player!
Thanks for your e-mail. I have received e-mails from all over during the last few years in response to my story on Lennie's in the Melrose Mirror. It is exciting to realize that so many people enjoyed Lennie's as much as I did way back then and still remember it now.
And thanks for reading the Melrose Mirror...
A Melrose Mirror Silver Stringer
(Now in) Peoria, Arizona
Steve's article appeared in the October, 2003, issue of the Melrose Mirror. It is available through this link.