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Corrections & Clarifications
Several words were inadvertently dropped from Jimmy Raney's January '94 article "The Composer." We have always felt fortunate to have Jimmy contribute to our newspaper, and we're sorry for the error. Following is the correct version, with the omitted portion italicized:
There was once a jazz piano room in the West Fifties in New York City called The Composer. The owner was Sy Barron, who had owned and managed jazz clubs at other spots around town. Sy liked jazz, and jazz musicians, and treated his players with respect — by no means the norm with club owners. Although he mostly featured piano, he sometimes used guitar or vibraphone, and once in awhile a horn, as long as the music didn't get too loud.
I first went there in the middle fifties to hear guitarist Tal Farlow. Sy managed to cajole him out of retirement once or twice a year, and it was always a big event for us Tal Farlow addicts. It was on one of these occasions that I first heard Bill Evans. Bill was the intermission pianist, and relatively unknown. He didn't remain unknown for long. The club changed the main attraction every week or two, but sometimes kept the same intermission pianist for longer periods. It wasn't long before the room was jammed with people who had come to hear Bill, but would leave and go to a little bar around the corner while the main group was playing. Needless to say, this didn't go unnoticed by Sy Barron, who began to book Bill's trio as the attraction, and as the cliche goes, "The rest is history."
(Our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery go out to Jimmy Raney, who remains seriously ill following a stroke suffered several weeks ago.)