|Special Thanks to Ed Berger for permission of the use of this picture.|
Mr. Berger's Flickr Site
Over the Christmas Holiday I started hooking up all my stereo and video equipment to my computer system. During the process I got together a few hard drives from computers years past, got a little gadget that allows me to plug them right into a USB plug. I found a goldmine of "STUFF"... the most important was my original links to a very talented Musician, Leroy "Sam" Parkins. What I didn't find were the few emails we shared a few years back.
It was Sam whom I had originally chatted with years ago regarding Raymond Scott and a performance back in 1962 - 63 on the Bell Telephone Hour. He wrote me he had performed in one of the Quintet's last live performances on television, at that time I had not seen the December 1962 performance. When I finally viewed the original televised performance I was instantly drawn to the sax player, feeling this was John . Originally when I had corresponded with Sam I just assumed it was he that would be playing Sax when he performed with Scott. On the official Raymond Scott website there are a couple of statements credited to Sam about the Bell Telephone Performance, and in one... October 1963 is given as the date of the performance, the other refers to 1962.
Maybe my research is not so good... but, on IMDb you can look up all the episodes for BTH which aired once a month. October 1963, the Raymond Scott Quintet is not listed as performers in the show. The last Raymond Scott Performance I can find listed is the December 8, 1962 episode which the complete performance is available for viewing. I have asked if anyone out there in Music Land could identify any of the performers other than Scott & Dorothy Collins. I have looked at some of the pictures of Sam in his later years and I have seen one where he did have on a pair of glasses. I have a strange feeling Sam Parkins is playing clarinet in the BTH performance Designs in Music. Sitting right next to who I believe was John Lewis Bartee. I'm sure Sam's friends & family could verify if this is the younger version of the man. Original blog post of Raymond Scott Video.
And why are the clarinet & trumpet player's images burned into my brain? Did they both work for a TV network as Musicians and get drafted in the hallway for a small television role or commercial. Or did I see this original show in a rerun as a child? Since John's cousin Carlos Faulkner told me of his visit to see John in 1940 I have looked into the Raymond Scott connection for whom he said John was doing some work for at the time. Although, when I first saw the photo of the Original Quintet with Dave Wade as a replacement on Trumpet I thought it might be a sign I might be on the right track.
Raymond Scott Quintet ~ Designs in Music
Bell Telephone Hour December 8, 1962
Now that I had Sam's name and the links to contact him again last month I had new questions to ask of him about the performance, once again time stepped in... A couple of weeks ago I found out Sam had died a little more then a year ago. Seems like so often TIME takes others away before we get to know about them or say hello to them one last time. I started searching to know more about Sam with his passing, and I would like to introduce him to those of you that haven't heard of him.
Sam's Myspace website
Leroy (Sam) Parkins: born in reign of Calvin Coolidge. Heard Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton 1936 - 1945. Charlie Parker from then on. Normal life no longer possible. Cornell for composition; New England Conservatory for Masters. Saxophonist-in-residence two whorehouses (Bowdoin Bar & Grill, Boston, 1945; Barbara Kelly's Glass Hat, NYC 1960), the Heroin Capital of the North Shore (Melody Lounge, Lynn MA, 1954 but didn't sample the wares); Carnegie Hall (one-shot, 1976) etc.etc. Sixteen years with two major society orchestras. Duties included playing New Years Eve for the Carnegies and Mellons at Rolling Rock Country Club, Ligonear, PA.; deb parties as far away as St. Louis, MO. Joined production staff CBS Masterworks 1967. Recorded the complete Charles Ives chamber music. One Grammy (European); four Grammy nominations. Recorded Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Charles Wuorinen et al for New World Records, 1975. Black composers series, various labels: Music of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake, Cecil Taylor, Benny Carter, Scott Joplin. Stravinsky's 'Ebony Concerto' with Richard Stolzman and Woody Herman's Thundering Herd, RCA Victor, 1987. Grammy nomination. As featured soloist, 'Take Me To the Land of Jazz', Aviva records. Stereo Review, Album Pick of the Year, Acoustic Jazz, 1979. Recorded 'Preservation Hall Live!' for Sony Classical, 1991. Miscellaneous recordings since; clarinetist-in-residence, Cajun Restaurant, NYC; ditto weekly stint New York Public Library. Commence writing 'Journey to Bohemia' 1997. Lived.
Leroy "Sam" Parkins
Published: January 3, 2010 New York Times
Sam Parkins, 83, of Manhattan, died November 19, 2009 in Tel Aviv. Musician extraordinaire-jazz clarinet/sax, composer, record producer, Columbia, RCA. Beloved husband of 41 years of the late Camilla Kemple. He is survived by siblings Ted Parkins, Rosemary Monroe; nephews Ted Parkins, Jr., Michael Monroe; nieces Jean Monroe, Jennifer McKinnon; beloved "honorary daughter" Joan Falk; and countless friends. Commemoration February 7, 2010.
CANGELOSI CARDS' JAM SESSION, "IT'S A SIN TO TELL A LIE," Feb. 2, 2009, Banjo Jim's
Joining Tamar Korn, Jake Sanders, Karl Meyer, Gordon Webster, Marcus Millius, and Cassidy Holden are trombonist Matt Musselman, clarinetist / mandolin whiz Dennis Lichtman,
and the real guest star -- Sam Parkins on clarinet.
Recorded by Michael Steinman.
See and hear more at http://www.jazzlives.wordpress.com.
Swing out! Sam Parkins and Dennis Lichtman (clarinets), Tamar Korn, Jake Sanders (g), Marcus Millius (harmonica), Karl Meyer (violin), Gordon Webster (piano), Cassidy Holden (bass) -- poor sweet Ida never got taken for a ride at this speed, but she loved every minute. Recorded by Michael Steinman.
I know Sam had many friends in the Music World so if any of you stop by here please leave a note of your memories of Sam. Sometime in the future someone will want to know more of the LIFE of Leroy "Sam" Parkins.