When I was a kid, I thought there couldn’t possibly be another Jeremy Kahn. First of all, Jeremy was a pretty rare name for my generation. It got very popular for babies when I was a teenager. Secondly, I suppose every kid’s ego dictates that he or she is unique.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I learned in my twenties that there was a Jeremy Kahn at Harvard who was the president of the Harvard Society of Nerds. Ouch, man. Now, of course, you can Google your own name to see what comes up. I see a math guy, a journalist and a doctor, to name but a few. There’s even another musician: a guitar player (not a pianist, thank god) who lives in the UK. We’ve corresponded occasionally, and he recently told me that a lady tracked him down to ask him to do some recording, mistakenly thinking that it was me.

I guess that I’ve matured enough to take a strange comfort in the knowledge that other Jeremy Kahns exist. Maybe we should all meet up for a beverage sometime.

Working Title

There’s a very old joke: How do you get a musician to complain? Give him a gig.

There’s more than a grain of truth in that old groaner. Right now I’m in the middle of a stretch where I’m playing and conducting eight shows a week, and, by Sunday night, after having played five shows in three days, I’m pretty whupped. I like my down time; I’m very good at doing nothing. But, I’ll tell you this: down time is more enjoyable when it’s your reward for having worked hard.

I’m very appreciative that I have a skill that is somewhat marketable. With all the under- and unemployed people running around, these are indeed confusing times.

A Labor Day toast: Here’s to many multitudes of complaining musicians.

Soup to Nuts

I’ve had a garden variety of pianistic experiences this week:

On Monday, I played for a variety show at a local retirement home. The folks there truly connect emotionally with the material, and some of them sing quite well. There’s a resident who sang the daylights out of “I Have Dreamed”.  The big closing number was a crowd-pleasing medley of “Mame” and “One”,

On Tuesday I played for a Jazz Institute of Chicago benefit. It was a rhythm section and TEN trumpets! Jon Faddis was the straw boss. Other notables were the fabulous Tito Carrillo and Art Hoyle. Art is a piece of history: the guy was in bands led by Billy Eckstein, Lionel Hampton and Sun Ra, for God’s sake!

Wednesday afternoon took me to my theater gig as the pianist/conductor for “Hot Mikado”. The band is good and we can play hard. As the band is visible, I wear tails with a big “M” embroidered on the jacket. Classy. I also get shot at several times each show and have to dive off of the piano bench. I’m a latent thespian.

Wednesday night was my ongoing gig with vocalist Paul Marinaro and bassist Joe Policastro at 3160 N. Clark. Located on the edge of Boys Town, the room is owned by the man who owns a very successful female impersonator club in another part of town. The bar’s regulars are all over the map in terms of sexual orientation, and the barkeep is a tough-as-nails middle-aged lesbian right out of Central Casting. On my last break I found myself seated between two patrons who were having a very nasty exchange. It seems that the guy had been in the ladies room and didn’t lock the door. The woman had walked in on said guy and verbal bitch-slapping ensued.

Show biz, baby!

Not enough Pepper

Greetings and Salutations.

My friend Gary Carner suggested that I start a blog because it will hopefully generate traffic to his new project: Gary produced several CDs devoted to Pepper’s compositions and I was proud to be part of two of them. Pepper, in my opinon, was one of the great soloists in jazz history, yet vastly underrated.

Hello world!

Hello there.

I have been advised to dip my toes into the potentially toxic waters of the Blogosphere. I must admit: I’ve never even looked at a blog. I’m much more old-school: Newspapers, books, crossword puzzles. It’s all part of Life’s Great Pageant.

More to follow.