Long story short: when I saw Stella Brooks’ obituary in the Chronicle, I was struck by her glare. Reading further baited me further. I sent a note to Deb Wright her niece and the keeper of the flame; meanwhile, the Palo Alto Weekly had a story about Kay Kosty, “Black Olive Jazz” who teaches drama at Stanford and fronts several jazz bands. Soon enough Kay and I called on Deb who showed us through a couple boxes of clippings, letters, photos and ephemera. On the way back to the Bay Area we brainstormed some ideas about how to combine our energies to tell Stella’s story. A short time later Terry Abrahamson and David Kaplan tapped us for how to reach Deb and mine that same box. There was a production in Massachusetts of “Jazz Funeral for Stella Brooks” at a Tennessee Williams festival. Terry and I had breakfast in Palo Alto. My parents died. I got married. I restarted a concert series in Palo Alto at Mitchell Park featuring vocalists like Jane Monheit doing mostly Ella songs. I had Beth Custer Clarinet Thing doing mostly an Ellington program on Mardi Gras. A plague descended upon the land. I hid in my townhouse for three months dying to live or living to die. I woke up one day and decided to use the internet to “make” “music”. I called Kay out of the blue. She called Noel Jewkes. Anyhow, she’s a little piece of leather don’t you know? Well put together don’t you know. What is? My brain? Lions with Wings? Earthwise Productions? The third rock from the sun?
Stay tuned. Stay tuneful. Fuck computers. But you can stream and download on Bandcamp – but in this case, because its not a lossless file, you can also hear it here on Plastic Alto. Only, rather.
April 20 will be the 75th anniversary of her big show at Town Hall in New York City.