I couldn't quite resist purchasing another from these guys (see their 1975 set) from the beautiful melting pot of Baltimore, MD, when I saw the hilarious but highly attractive DIY cover of this 1980 instalment in the yearly franchise they apparently got going throughout this period (it actually lasted all the way to the late eighties-- well past the due date of this highly structured and unique style of big band jazz). It cost nothing to take the photo of the knocked over schoolchild's desk with the unrealistically non-swear-worded graffiti that got you to the principal's office but boy those hard wooden pieces of furniture bring back memories, especially for your ass, don't they? And imagine all the stuck-on wads of dried gum on the other surface!
With a great deal of joy one can now see from the back photograph that there is a black face in the band (and this was in Baltimore, a city that is about three-quarters to four-fifths African-American!) though of course only one, among the fresh white college kids playing the jazz music that, let us recall, was invented and in fact perfected by African-Americans more than a half-century prior:
It really is amazing that so many years after the origin of jazz, after the end of segregation in the 60s, a black man was permitted to play with the all-white big band here in the year 1980, as I said before, progress was sometimes so blazingly fast in the United States. And we wonder how much talent he had to display to get the right to join these guys, probably twenty-five times more at a minimum. Or was it perhaps the influence of Mrs. H. Levy that got him hand-picked? I sure hope he didn't have to demonstrate the size of his schlong to the bearded artsy bespectacled type in the front row-- the trauma would probably have led him to choke on his Orange Tang and subsequently suffer a diagnosis of chronic medically intractable impotence. I remember in this regard the time my college friend's brother had the name of his girlfriend, before they broke up, stupidly and drunkenly tattooed on his unit: her name was Wendy-- though at rest or after swimming only visible were the letters W, e, and y. After the breakup when he went with a group of friends to Jamaica he observed the same inked letters on a black man at the urinals by the pool and intemperately yelled out, "Your girl was called Wendy too!" in his inebriated condition. The man laughed loud and hard, for many minutes in fact, and when finally caught his breath to finish, said: "No mon, it say, 'Welcome to Jamaica Mon--- and have a great day!" Imagine the mortification of the poor kid upon hearing this piece of, quite unwelcome I'd say, news, compounded by the embarrassment of this permanent record of a dead and gone relationship on his midline external genitalia. It's certain, this particular vignette, exactly as told here, should be taught in schools-- university perhaps most appropriately-- as a cautionary lesson to avoid such a costly error.
Anyways, back to this record. This bunch was to me the best-sounding of the college bands I posted earlier, and they were prolific too. As time went on it seems the quality of Hank Levy's music improved so I'm happy to say there are some quite progressive compositions to be found here. A track called Interchange clearly demonstrates the composing skills of Mr. Levy and reminds me a lot of Eyermann's best work:
If there are more tracks like that one in this oeuvre I will have to collect more!