(SLAM) STEWART was a member of the Binghamton Sertoma Club. While
we enjoying after dinner conversation at a Freedom Banquet, held
a Morey’s Restaurant in February of 1987, Slam expressed to
me that he would like to do a new recording and give the proceeds
to the Binghamton Sertoma. He asked me if I thought it might be
possible and to help in this endeavor. Over the next few weeks we
talked often about his idea; the plan was that he would choose the
music and the musicians, and he invited me to play saxophone, do
the arranging and serve as Executive Producer for the recording.
of 1987 Slam approached the club members with the idea. The recording
was to be financially backed by the club and, in return, the club
would be given any and all profits from future sales of the album.
This offer was overwhelming to the club members for they realized
the potential of Slam’s gift. Slam made the arrangements to
have the rights and royalties turned over to the Binghamton Sertoma
Club, and the club made the arrangements to proceed with the project
as soon as possible for this was to be a “permanent gift of
love” from which the club’s charitable projects could
and would benefit.
then decided on the personnel for the recording. In addition to me,
he chose two other then “local” players: Sherrie Maricle,
drums; and Kent McGarity, trombone, bass trumpet and electric bass.
The other players were among the “Who’s Who” of
the jazz world: Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar; Peter Appleyard, vibraphone;
and Richard Wyands, piano. The session was booked into Clinton Recording
Studios in New York City. One of my former students (at Binghamton
University) was one of the owner’s of this facility, and therefore
the Binghamton Sertoma Club was given a very reasonable price and
we were able to record two sessions in one day on November 25, 1987.
was 73year old and was beginning to tire easily. During the second
session on November 25th, he had some memory losses and forgot to
either sing or play in some of the tunes. Every one felt that the
“takes” were good otherwise, so we decided to keep the
recorded material and then have another recording session to allow
Slam to simply do “overdubs” for the missing lyrics or
bass lines. Slam passed in his sleep on December 10, 1987. The overdub
session had not taken place. Slam’s widow, Clair Woods Stewart,
wanted the recording to be produced and asked me to hire Slam’s
friends to aid in completing the missing material. Major “Mule”
Holley was a close friend of Slam, and played the same style as Slam
had made famous. Bucky’s son, John Pizzarelli, also was a close
family friend of the Stewarts and was beginning to make his mark on
the music profession. I invited these gentlemen to help bring the
project to fruition, and they both enthusiastically accepted the invitation.
The recording was completed, mixed and mastered in January of 1988
and the first records were sold at the Binghamton Sertoma Antique
Show in February of 1988. This recording is a truce collector’s
item since it is the last recording of the great Slam Stewart playing
a myriad of musical styles, with his friends, in his own inimitable
record sales were somewhat of a disappointment since many persons
were switching from records and record players to Compact Disks and
CD players. The Club decided to re-release the recording in 1992 on
the compact disk format. The CDs are available from the Binghamton
Sertoma Club for $15.00 plus shipping, and there are still some records
available which were recorded on virgin vinyl produced by Europa Disk
using Teldec Technology Direct Metal Mastering for $10.00 plus shipping.