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Albert Everett

I don't remember when jazz began to interest me. The guitar solo in Nat Cole's "Sweet Lorraine" (the version that can now be heard on his "After Midnight" record) has beguiled me since childhood when I heard it on my grandmother's 8-track player in Nova Scotia. Even now I resist learning that solo, because once I learn it, it just won't be the same for me.

In high school sometime I picked up the John McLaughlin album "Electric Guitarist" and liked it. A college dorm-mate had me listen to "Kind of Blue." I remember really enjoying Michael Brecker's saxophone on Pat Metheny's "80/81" album. After making my way back to UALR, I began to listen to jazz albums in the library media center while doing my math homework. Strongest memories: Art Farmer's version of "In a Sentimental Mood," Lester Bowie's "Great Pretender," the Smithsonian compilation, and especially records with Lester Young or Thelonius Monk. I remember clearly being startled and relieved by how fun Monk's records were to listen to, in spite of their sophistication and harmonic complexity.

Once listening became fun, all kinds of barriers to listening began to fall. I bought myself a saxophone and began to toot around with it, but sold it to a music student who was more serious about playing than I. It was a Selmer Mark VI in good condition and I'll never make that mistake again!

Later on I signed up for Tom Cox's jazz combo class at UALR, playing electric bass, to see if I could survive fake book charts. Tom had me out on several gigs and always offered encouragement. For a time, Tom and I got together with our friend Jim Trost to play in Tom's office. Thanks, Tom. Actually, everyone in the UALR music department has been unfailingly good to me, so thanks to all of you out there.

Recently I've enjoyed becoming more familiar with the local jazz players such as, among others, Charles Thomas, Buck Powell, Dave Rogers and Joe Vick (my hero). Actually, I've known most of them for years but I don't think I'd be kidding with Buck about Quake II and wringing those last bits per second out of his Internet connection if I weren't hanging out at the AfterThought on Monday nights as often as I do now.

It's also been cool to discover some of the nationally known people who have ties to Arkansas. This focus has made it easier to go into record stores without instantly glazing over trying to decide what to buy. At the Little Rock Barnes&Noble, for example, I found several albums each by Louis Jordan, Walter Norris and Roseanna Vitro. Best Buy usually has a few of Roseanna's albums. Being the driver for Roseanna's gig here in September gave me the opportunity to meet her and get to know her a little bit - without the Foundation neither the gig nor the meeting would have happened. Walter Norris lives in Berlin now, so a face-to-face meeting is unlikely, but perhaps he does email...

Gloria Lane and I have known James Thomson and his involvement with jazz around the state for years now. Gloria has at times been heavily involved in the work herself; I'd lurked around the periphery of things until this summer when the three of us started talking about doing up a quick and dirty web site for the foundation.

Jann Greenland, a graphic artist we work with, put me in touch with H.K. Stewart, and then H.K. brought Charlie James into the project. H.K. and Charlie worked out the art and layout based on an outline developed by Gloria, James and me. Once the basic site was up we began to see more potential for the web site to serve the purposes of the foundation by acting as a shared repository of Arkansans' jazz knowledge and experience, especially now that schools and individuals around the state are connecting to the Internet at such a great rate. But I'm just starting to learn who and where folks are, so if your area or favorite jazz musician is not represented on the web site, please let me know. We know there are large holes to fill.

If you're a jazz fan but not yet a member of the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation, please join. We want to know who you are and where your interests lie. We also need your money and your time. There's more work to be done than what a few people can accomplish. Our hope is that we'll find a lot of people who can contribute a little and a few who can contribute a lot. Working with musicians and fans through this foundation has been hugely rewarding for me, and I would wish you the same satisfaction.

Send me some content!

Albert Everett

Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation · PO Box 251187 · Little Rock, AR 72225-1187 US · info@arjazz.org

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