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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gino and the Java Jive

There are so many blessings in my life, but none better than the gift of good, old friends - in every regard. As many of you know, I recently had the privilege of working once again with the original members of The Manhattan Transfer - good, old friends. No, great old friends! It was a blessing to us all to reconnect musically after all these years.

Gene Pistilli recently wrote this short piece on the subject, and I could not resist sharing it with you! Gene has an uncanny way of capturing the essence of the moment. Enjoy!


Had a check up on Thursday that showed everything's good and gettin' better. So, “Hurrah!” for practically everything!  Now, you may think I'm wandering but stay with me, the story is worth it.

My old pal - well, not as old as I am - Erin Dickins from our Manhattan Transfer hippie days is back recording and performing live, which is so much livelier than doing so dead, don't you think?  She mixes new stuff and some wonderful versions of great classics. The most recent cut I heard by Erin on YouTube is Carl Fischer's "We'll Be Together Again," which has what might be the best bridge lyric of all time and Erin just nailed it:
   "Times when I know you'll be lonely
Times when I know you'll be sad
Don't let temptation surround you
Don't let the blues make you bad."

Top that, all you hip hop lovin', rappin', jitterbuggin' jive turkeys!

 Speaking of jive, there's one tune Erin cut that we used to do with the nascent   Manhattan Transfer: The Ink Spots' “Java Jive.” Backed by a very cool jazz trio, she makes it so light and happy that I want to start skipping whenever I hear it. I said “want to” because I don't know about you but lately my mind's been making too many appointments that my body just can't keep. So, I guess what I do now might be called virtual skipping.  But to continue...

 Pat Rosalia, the other gal from the original Transfer, found an old 78 of the original recording and brought it to a rehearsal. Up to that point we were sort of like “Spanky & Our Gang,”  doing folky stuff, a few old country classics and some of my tunes. But when she played that old 78 for us the bell rang and the lights started flashing. We put it in our show as soon as we could learn it, and it was to be the song that set us on the course of working out great arrangements of great old tunes that may have been forgotten, but deserve to be heard again. And it would help make Tim Hauser and the rest of the new singers in the Transfer become icons who are still drawing crowds world wide. (New? The youngest out of all of us is sixty. And they're probably lying.)  Although the original group disbanded you can still hear our version of “Java Jive” on the radio now and then.

Sadly, sweet Pat, the woman with the world's greatest laugh, left us a short while back and it's a real tribute to a great singer and a great lady that Erin is dedicating her recording of “Java Jive” to Pat's memory. Erin wanted the surviving members of the original group -Tim Hauser, Marty Nelson and me - to sing background on it. Of course we did and it turned out swell - shiny as a new dime. Get yourself a copy when it comes out some time this winter. Erin asked us each for a picture she might use in the music video, and this is the one of me I like the best.

Thank you to lens master, E.J. Holmes Dawson.  And thank you, Erin, for showing all our friends, old and new, that we can still shake 'em down!

 In closing, may I wish you all a really spooky Ghost & Goblin Day, a thankful Thanksgiving and the best Christmas you ever had.

God bless us, everyone!

Much love and affection from your only contact for zeppole in Nashville,

Jose Annoya


And God Bless you, Gino, for so many years of love, friendship, music and laughs. You are one in a million.

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