I grew up listening to Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and Lester Young, mostly. We had a big Stromberg-Carlson player and I remember the needles for the 78 rpm came in little brown envelopes,six to a pack, I think. When Les Paul & Mary Ford came out with How High the Moon, I wore out the record in about a week, my father bought another, and another. I didn't realize then, but I believe now that my deep love of music comes from this period.
I was introduced to Kazzrie in 1979 at a session at Lennie Tristano's house in Jamaica Queens. I had just started studying with Lenny Popkin and began attending these weekly sessions. Kazzrie, known as Liz Gorrill at the time, invited me to play at her home in Queens. At this point in my musical life I had been playing for many years but was just begining my journey into jazz improvisation.
To play a duet session where one player is a beginner and one player is an accomplished performer is rather daunting for the beginner. I went, and it was the first of many sessions that were so very important in my musical development. By 1983 Lenny had stopped teaching and I was studying with Connie Crothers. To study improvisation with Connie is an amazing experience, and soon I began to gain the confidence to step out on that limb. In 1989 Kazzrie and I performed at the Greenwich House Music School in NYC. The recording of that concert, "A Jazz Duet," was released in 1991 to critical acclaim and we began to play in many New York clubs.
(Charley with Lester Young's tenor sax after our concert at the
Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers Univ., Newark, NJ on 10/14/14.)