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The Cellar Story: Page Two 

returned for 4 days in
Nov/58...... this group. was absolutely phenomenal and probably the best to
       ever play the Cellar. The personel was: LENNY McBROWNE drums....ELMO HOPE piano. .... a then unknown
       SCOTT LaFARO bass...and Harold, tenor. Gavin Walker has documented a review of this band, which can be found
       on the Vancouver Jazz Forum site: The group brought a "manager" with them and at the end
       of the gig the "manager" received the band's money and that was the last any one ever saw of the money or the
       "manager", leaving Harold and the guys stuck with no way to leave town. Harold put in a quick call to his old friend,
       the famous baroness Nica de Koenigswarter in NY to ask for some financial help....... the needed money soon arrived
       and the guys were on their way back to L.A. ......while at the Cellar this group was taped and is available on CD.

Don Cherry, Chuck Logan, and Dave Quarin

        Don Cherry showed up again in town, unanounced with no group, just his wife....during this time he stayed at Chuck
        Logan's home, mostly with his head buried in a "Theory of Music" book and kept a fairly low profile (around town).
        He did a gig at the Cellar with Dave Quarin and sat in with both the Jim Kilburn and Al Neil groups at the annual jazz festival
        at the old Georgia Auditorium..... I remember him and I doing "Half Nelson" together...... that was fun!..... he left town
        shortly after New Years. Dale Hillary returned from San Francisco and this time with a great new trumpet player named
MIKE DOWNS. Mike hung around town for a while and we became good friends...... he was a beautiful player and a
        super nice cat.

        Around Feb./59 we booked San Francisco poetry and jazz artist KENNETH PATCHEN for a weekend......he was backed by
        the AL NEIL quartet with Dale Hillary on alto..... this gig was recorded by CBC radio and later released as an LP album on
        Folkways, FL9718 (This Lp has been reissued on CD from Locust Music)

More out of town players were coming in a steady stream......great players like PETE JOLLY, tenor player BILL PERKINS
and JOE GORDON and bebop trombonist, CARL FONTANA, backed by Tom Thorsburn, piano....Tony Clitheroe, bass
        and Bill Boyle drums........Hillary sat in on some sets with Fontana......I think every trombone player in town was there
        to catch Carl. Also bebopper Conte Candoli did a weekend.....he was backed by Tony Clitheroe, bass.... Bill Boyle, drums
and Bobby Doyle, piano.

Artwork by Al Neil, now the cover of the re-released CD on Locust Music

        Around mid /59 a new bunch of younger musicians started showing up. I think multitalented DON THOMPSON was the
        first on the scene followed a little later by PJ PERRY, drummer JERRY FULLER and a very young GLENN McDONALD
        on tenor saxophone.

        I was at the club early one nite warming up my chops before the gig and in comes PJ, horn in hand.......he introduced
        himself and then laid 2 requests on me.......firstly, could he sit in with us later on and secondly, could I please go to the liquor
        store and get him a bottle of 'cheep' wine, ha ha...... I said OK to both PJ showed a hell of lot of promise, but at that time
        didn't really know any really "hip" tunes......he came back 3 months later and it was a very different story and soon he put his
        own group together, which was: Al Neil, piano....Bob Miller, bass ....Me, trumpet.....and Jerry Fuller, drums. Miller
        soon left town and Tony took his place and Al was replaced by Don Thompson. PJ's playing moved ahead so rapidly that at
        times it was somewhat mind-boggling ! Some nites he played so fantastically that I would find myself saying....."shit!!
        how the hell am I gonna follow THAT" !!! ha ha. This group stayed together about 2 and 1/2 yrs. and it was nothing
a pleasure to have played with PJ and that great rhythm section!

Bob Frogge Quintet, ca. 1957

P.J. Perry in the 1970's

        In January 1961 MINGUS the "GREAT ONE" blessed us with his magnificent presence!.......he came down the stairs into the
        club all full of "piss and vinegar"....... after about a half hour of listening to his rantings and a long list of "demands", Dave
        Quarin took him aside and told him to calm down and explained to him what the club was all about  and that it was run by
        musicians, not gangsters, and told him to shut up........after that he cooled down and actually became a pretty agreeable cat.

Charles Mingus at the Cellar
 ( photo: by Mitzi Gibbs)

        One nite Charlie
became highly agitated with a table full of noisy football players....he shot off the stand, grabbed one of
        them by the back
of the neck and ran this mother up the stairs so fast he didn't know what hit him!....... they settled the
        rest of the dispute outside
...... I think Charlie won. He brought a great bunch of young players with him.......Lonnie
trumpet..... a great alto player, Charles McPherson and Danny Richmond, drums. That summer brought back
        L.A. trumpet star Conte Candoli, backed up by locals
Tony Clitheroe, bass....Jerry Fuller, drums.....and Don Thompson,
        piano..... between tunes, to
rest his chops, Conte would break us all up with his weird and hillarious stories... while in town
        he also did a CBC TV thing, backed by the RAY SIKORA big band.

        Drummer Bill Boyle related an interesting anecdote about Mingus' stay in Vancouver. Somewhere near the end of Mingus'
        run at the club, a few of the people at the Cellar were giving Charlie a ride back to his hotel late one nite about 5 am or
        so........ Bill Boyle and a couple of the" bebop girls" were there and one of the girls was driving. Charlie is getting into "one
        of his moods" and is starting to rant on and on about something or another that has bugged him earlier in the evening
        and his "descriptive" language is starting to become pretty "raw". The girl driving suddenly pulls over to the curb and
        comes to a screeching stop.....this is in the middle of the Cambie St. bridge!  She whips her head around, looks Charlie square
        in the face and screams at him....." listen you dumb son of a bitch, NOBODY uses language like that around ME.......
        you either apologize and shut up or you can open that door and get out and start walkin' your fat ass home RIGHT NOW"!!
        Needless to say, all conversation came to a very abrupt halt and there was absolute dead silence....Charlie's jaw dropped like
        a rock and Bill Boyle started shakin' in his boots, thinking that they were all going to die a violent death in the next few seconds
        (ha ha.) Anyway, it seems that Charlie had a sudden change of demeanor.....I guess he didn't exactly like the idea of walking
        home at 5am in a strange city, and all.......he immediately backed down  and started apologizing profusely. Needless to say
rest of the drive was filled with pretty awkward and stilted conversation and everyone was relieved when Charlie finally
        got out.

       August 16th /60 brought in the excellent guitarist BARNEY KESSEL and his Quartet. from L.A. for an unusual 6 day run.
        Unfortunately this group was a bit of a  dissapointment to us beboppers, musically speaking. Barney, at this time was
        "cashing-in" on the then popular "soul-jazz" brought in the "mink-coat" crowd, who definitely did not like
        our uncomfortable metal chairs and wooden tables........Barney cancelled out the last 2 days of his booking.

Lonnie Hillyer
(photo: Mitzi Gibbs)

Charles McPherson
(photo: Mitzi Gibbs)

        Every once in a while something totally unexpected would take place.......for instance Jimmy Kilburn remembers one nite
        while rehearsing his group and in came OSCAR PETERSON and HERB ELLIS ...... Herb borrowed Jim's guitar, which
        he says ..."never sounded better" ....... Another time in early /59, Al Neil's group. was rehearsing quite late when thru the
        door came Ritchie Kamuca......Russ Freeman.....Monty Budwig.... Joe Gordon....Shorty Rogers....Shelly Manne....
        Frank Butler and Harold Land!!!...they had been doing a concert downtown and wanted to stay up all nite & just blow 'till
        plane time in the morning..... Joe Gordon asked to borrow my horn and what followed was some of the best spontaneous
        jazz I'd heard in a loooong time!!!..... they stayed on the stand till about 3:30 am and to top off the evening DON FRANCKS
        then got on the stand and did one of the most outrageously funny comedy routines ever........ we were all on the floor!!!

        Once, out of the blue, when a few of us were just sitting around drinking and messing around, in walks L.A. bass player
        RED MITCHELL.... he just joined us, shared a few tastes, got up and played some piano and then disappeared into the
        nite..... what a nice cat. A couple of nites later, BUDDY DeFRANCO, PERCY HEATH and STAN GETZ dropped by to
        just hang out........ The next morning at 8am!!!!, Francks banged on my door and dragged me (half asleep), outside
        to his marvelously restored 1929 vintage car and inside was Percy Heath and a VERY surly Getz.....we drove them to
        the airport.......during the short drive Getz smoked three joints and only spoke in "disinterested grunts".... Stan was truly
        "a nice bunch of guys".

(lt-rt) Don Friedman, Ben Tucker,  Billy Higgins, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Nov. 1957

        Actor BARRY CRAMER was almost always there and he was a master of "putdown" humor........ he didn't much like
or Al's group and rarely hestitated to let us know that we (laughingly) "STANK"....... one nite when introducing
group. he said....... "good evening, welcome to the Cellar, and now for your listening and dancing pleasure, Al Neil
and his Jazz Messenger-BOYS" !!! ha another time (on a slow nite) he referred to us as the "Jazz
a very funny cat.


Arnie Chycoski.... superb lead trumpet

Jim Kilburn, Cellar Prez

        The following 2 yrs. 1961/ 62, so much was was going on musically at the Cellar and around town that it is hard to recall
        all of it......... AL NEIL was beginning to show definite signs of, shall we put it nicely (ha ha), moving off into "other"
        directions. HAROLD LAND and his quartet was back in for a 3rd appearance at the Cellar and somewhere in this time
        frame altoist LEE KONITZ did a weekend with Tony Clitheroe, bass and STAN PERRY, drums.

        The Mongomery Brothers did a 2 week gig at the club in April, 1961, resulting in an after hours recording for Fantasy Records, done in the "wee small hours" of Apr 15,
        after the audience had gone home, which is available now on CD. Read James Carney's
Stories of Mingus, Wes and the CBC
One nite in the summer of /61 after doing a TV show with RAY SIKORA's big band, backing jazz singer ERNESTINE ANDERSON,
        someone had the great idea of "why don't we take the whole band up to the Cellar tonite and re-do the whole show at
        the club " ........and that's what happened......... it was great spontaneous things like this that made the Cellar such a gas
        place to hang out....... things like this just don't happen anymore. In Ray's band at that time, as far as I can remember
        was: ARNIE CHYCOSKI....DICK FORREST .... John DAWE.... BOB HALES (possibly) trumpets........RAY SIKORA
          and TED LAZENBY (bones)......(saxes:) PJ PERRY....GAVIN HUSSEY....PAUL PERRY and DALE HILLARY (baritone sax) and
        Don Thompson, Jerry Fuller and Tony Clitheroe.


        By Aug. of 1962 things were staring to show signs of a downward slide......the main core of jazz players were all out of town
        doing summer gigs and others were heading off to Toronto and gigs elsewhere. On returning to Vancouver in Sept./62 Dale
        Hillary and I did a gig at the Cellar and we couldn't even find a decent rhythm section !!!!........ it was PATHETIC !
        This was the last time we played at the "GREAT PLACE"..... he and I headed to Toronto, where we worked for "the door"
        at the "First Floor Club"...... we both starved to death (ha ha). Dale spent most of the days looking to get "high" and I spent
        most of my time looking for food.

Ray Sikora Quartet: Chuck Logan (drums),Bob Miller (bass),
Doug Parker (piano), Ray (trombone) at The Cellar, early /59.
(Paintings by Richard Reid)

        By the fall of /62 some of the original musicians were drifting away and recently found information in 2013, unearthed by researcher Marian Jago, informs us
        that the Cellar managed to keep the doors open under somewhat strained and shaky circumstances, until about September, 1963. It was a great & memorable
        eight year run but the club had become the victim of it's own success, and it was time to move on

Adrian Tanner, Coda Magazine, 1964
Some of the musicians I didn't mention are:

          Roy Hornasty.....Earl Freeman....Lionel Chambers....Terry Hill....Chuck Knott....Bill Trussell ...Wally Lightbody.... Jack Reynolds...
          Jack Fulton.....Wally Snider...Don Clark...... Pete Thompson.....Jim Blackley... Bill Fawcett....Carse Sneddon.....Doug Parker.....

          Bob Hales.....George Ursan.... Ray Norris.....Blaine Wikjord.....Don Fraser Sr......Jim Wightman.....Lionel Mitchell..... Bob Mica....
          Claire Lawrence.....Ian MacDougall....Paul Ruhland..... Fraser MacPherson.....Glen Startup.....Lyle Carter....John Fredrickson....
          Allen Smith.....Al Del Bucchia....Terry Clarke....Vern Gish....Art Tusvick.....Wilf Wylie.....Charlie Hendrix....
Mike Taylor...Stew Barnett
          and visitors: Dizzy Gillespie.....
Coleman Hawkins.....Roy Eldridge.....Leo Wright....Lalo Schifrin.....Chris White and Rudy Collins

        There were many hundreds of people that came through the door of The Cellar and if I missed you, my apologies - J.Dawe

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