Posted on Facebook on May 17, 2013
Sam, so here is my introduction to Jazz, and I thought I’d share it here for its invaluable educational value.
It must have been the summer of 1987 in Marsa Matrouh when I met a young couple, an English man and his Egyptian girlfriend. They must have been in their early thirties, and I was just 23. I think her name was Clare, but I can’t remember his now. It was Rommel Beach (yes there is a beach by that name in that beautiful coastal city that the Soviets had ruined in the1960s by dredging an ugly port that ruined the bay), and I was alone reading a book, which I believe was Andre Gide’s Strait is the Gate, and they came with a beach towel, a couple of books and a cassette player. He was very good looking and she wore a yellow bikini, I still remember, which was odd even back then (the bikini, not the color 🙂 ). I can’t remember how we struck up a conversation, but I remember the song they were playing, Fats Waller’s Your Feets Too Big, which I thought was very funny. Later that day, we met for dinner and they gave me a cassette of Chick Correa that they had. We promised to see each other again in Cairo but we never did.
So what educational value is there in such a story? Well, that Rommel, Gide, Fats Waller, Chick Correa, a handsome man and a woman in yellow bikini can introduce one to jazz and change one’s life forever.