Jazz Institute of Chicago

More Barrett memories

More Barrett memories
by John Miles

I enjoyed Stu's memories of the Bud Freeman sessions, but I have a feeling Stu either forgot about—or rather ignored—the recording session with Bud and the band that was produced by Linda Prince and recorded at WFMT studios.

Barrett at the time was totally annoyed at the session. In fact, he did not even get a 2-bar break in the whole recording session and was bemoaning that fact rather loudly, complaining that he did not understand why he was even called to the date and what's more felt that his fans were being cheated since here was Barrett on the album and all he did was play rhythm for the band with absolutely no solos in it for him.

So, the one day I accompanied Barrett to the studios there was, to say the least, a small war zone going on verbally between him and Linda. But even though he was annoyed by what went on he did the job he was supposed to do and the album was recorded and came out as it did. Barrett was never happy about being on that album, because of the above situation, but went on to play several other sets with Bud, including the Chicago Jazz Fest and at the Chicago Historical Society, what had to be in my opinion one of the funniest sets I have ever seen.

A few days before the Chicago Historical Society gig, Barrett, myself and another drum aquaintance of ours went up to Milwaukee to check out some music store that was closing up. On the trip up there, I mentioned I had recently heard Louis Armstrong's recording of "King Of The Zulus", which Barrett was on and he mentioned how he kept a beat to that tune. He said he would say, "Eat Some Shit" in a slow tempo. So then throughout the CHS gig Barrett up on the stand was mouthing that same phrase while the band was playing. Bud was never the wiser. Barrett by the way did not mean any disrespect for Bud, he was just having his fun playing drums.

Bud had told Barrett, because the stage was small to just bring in a trap set and that's all. Barrett wasn't crazy about the idea, since this was supposed to be a live session being broadcast by WFMT. Well Barrett brought in just a snare drum w/stand, ride cymbal and a crash cymbal and that was it, which made Bud very happy. But every time Bud turned away from Barrett, he would hit the crash cymbal as an accent, naturally in time. Naturally, I and three or four other of Barrett's friends in the audience were laughing up a storm every time he did it 'cuz he would add a huge grin afterwards.

The other hilarious part of the CHS gig was the fact that Bud could not figure out on how to use a boom mic stand, so since I was in the front row, every time he would play, I would drop the mic down to the sax, and everytime he wanted to talk into the same mic, I would have to run over and bring the mic up so that he wouldn't have to bend down to do so. So it went, up down, up down, up down the whole set.

That was also the first time we got Barrett drunk after aa gig, but that's another story....

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