Thursday, October 16, 2008

Henry "Red" Allen and His New York Orchestra, 1929-1930 (JSP)

Like my friend Paul used to say back in the 80s, "I ain't no connoisseur cat / What kinda sewer is that?"  You know what else he used to say?  "I didn't come here to fight / Hey, unless if that is white!"  By which Paul meant, beer is for breakfast, but wine is for Sunday.  And every other day of the week, too, I'm guessing, even on the skyway.  So what's the "Red" stand for?  It's the historical juncture, a missing link, the time when a trumpeter could still go abstract from the smoky (and smoking) comfort of the corner joint.  Or rather, when the dude could still play the blues and conceptualize Modigliani, it's all right there.  Henry's in the tradition, no doubt, but he's smoothing it out (with his New York Orchestra) in a way that makes Duke inevitable, and how is it I can't stop hearing Parker and JJ Johnson?  The writing is on the wall, written in grafitti in the back stall, reminding us to Let it Be.  And Stink.   Written in red lipstick.  And Jesus right behind me, never got any smokes.   When I was young.  Before I even knew what an Alex Chilton was.  Paul screaming out drunk as John Berryman from the backrooms of the great Midwest was about all that sustained me.  When I was young.  Henry Red Allen didn't invent America, but he may have made it grow up.  It's still a black-and-white thing.  Read all over.

Suggeste Wine Pairing:  Paul don't drink that expensive Eur-O-Peen swill, and he definitely don't pay more than $10 for the privilege.  Corks are pretty much a drag, too.  Purists don't dig Paul, 'cause Paul's a dirty river (the one that runs through Minneapolis, actually).  Paul robs Peter, to pay Tim.  With the best screw-top bottle of red money can buy, I think:  Wyatt Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, California.   

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