Eat your Heart out Johnny Hodges……………………..

Wandering up Buchanan Street in Glasgow the other day I was greeted along the way by several buskers, usually guitar in hand and singing everything from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (which should be forbidden as the only two versions that have merit are Cohen’s himself and Jeff Buckley, but that’s a personal gripe!) to what I thought was possibly self penned material.

ImageThe standard of the buskers is usually pretty good and they often attract an appreciative crowd who are usually quite generous with their financial appreciation.

As I meandered my way up the street I began to hear the sound of a saxophone in the distance and I recognized a variety of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn tunes being played.

ImageEventually I got to see the busker who was playing an alto saxophone and improvising his way through many of the Ellington core repertoire tunes.

I stopped to listen and thought “this man has real talent”…………….during one of his rests I engaged him in conversation and I discovered we both had a mutual passion for the music of Duke Ellington. A longish conversation then ensued about which of the pieces that Ellington composed was the best, not forgetting the magnificent contribution made to the band by Strayhorn (Take the A Train, Satin Doll etc).

ImageAs we were talking I couldn’t get my head around his accent and although there was a fairly strong Scottish lilt it sounded a little strange, so I asked him where he was from. He smiled and said “I am from the Netherlands, The Hague but I have been in Scotland for quite some time”

He said he made his living from busking and doing “session work” and the latter did not surprise me given his talent. As a parting gift he played “A flower is a lovesome thing” specially form me………and it was beautiful.

So thank you to my Dutch colleague………….see, there are some benefits to being in the EU!



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3 Responses to Eat your Heart out Johnny Hodges……………………..

  1. Sybren says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I am always glad to find a fellow Ellingtonian. They are getting increasingly rare. – Sybren (the saxophonist)


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