Interview: Al Stewart (Part 1) - JazzWax

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September 28, 2009


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Michael Steinman

What priceless recollections -- Al is a fine raconteur (a novelist with valve oil on the side) and you ask the right questions. A pleasure to read! (And an apple and a ship's bell, too . . . )

Charlton Price

My first visit to Marc's blog. This is a great interview. Also the pictures really enhance the story for me. I was "present at the creation" around NYC and New England as the new thing was getting started, 1941-50. Now I'm in Seattle.

Check out what was happening in KC at the time, and is going on now, in our JAM magazine. Back issues available online at

Larry Kart

Great stuff, as usual. Wonder if Marc would say something about how knows of/tracks down people like Al Stewart. I know that Marc himself wasn't around in those days but is a devoted record hound, yet that in itself doesn't quite explain how one would know about the importance of an Al Stewart. A Conrad Gozzo, a Danny Bank, yes -- even though they weren't soloists except on rare occasions, those stalwarts had/have reputations that extended from the world of players into the world of jazz at large. But then there's finding Stewart (that might have been no problem) and asking him the right questions, which probably means that Marc himself pretty much has to know in advance what the interview subject knows. And to know and ask in the right spirit, which is essential.

Don Tyler

Ditto the above!

Rich Pulin

I remember seeing and speaking with Al Stewart on 52nd St...... by the newer 'Charlie's'.....everybody congregated there, especially on Wednesday's(union hang-out day)when the guys were trying to pick up work for the weekend!
After the union, we all headed to Charlie's...I'm speaking that time you'd be likely to see a diverse group of musicians(Charlie's regulars)like Les Elgart, Shadow Wilson, Matthew Gee,Philly Joe Jones and 'Poppa' Joe Jones(who preferred Jim & Andy's over on 54th St.
Poppa always had his brushes with him, and would skillfully play the bar stools while the jazz jukebox would be playing a Billie Holiday ballad or something!

Len Stewart

Some links with Al's photographs from the road, some other info and contact details:
(there is a link to a gallery of his photos at the bottom)

Also he has a blogspot, although it doesnt seem to have been updated in a while:


Eddie Bert usually took pretty much the same solo on this tune, but not here. No Wardell. Doug's solo is different too from his recorded versions--the first one is a disaster I always wondered about. The trumpet section always sounded ragged to me. Tough parts.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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