Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sam...Black Satin...and Shearing

...from a photographer's notebook

I like Humphrey Bogart. And I like cats.
And if Bogart came back as a cat, I could see him in this photo saying "Awright, Shweetheart, this is the kiss-off."
Or “Play it again, Sam.”

But wait - this is Sam!

Sam crossed the rainbow bridge some years ago, after enriching the lives of my cousins for his long life with his gentle nature (even though he might appear a bit “sinister” here!). Sam always sought me out when I came to visit, and I must say he was my favorite of their cats of the time.

I’ve always felt one of the top precepts of Catdom (right up there alongside of “If it feels good, do it”) is “Any place I plant my furry little bummy is home.” And, in this instance, Sam had planted said furry bummy on the black lining of my parka, which I’d left on my cousins’ couch.

Now I just tonight happened to find this image in a file folder I’d imaginatively named (during a particularly hectic period of editing) “Everything Else.” While searching out a totally unrelated image, my search program told me it was lurking in that “Everything Else” folder. Which led me to serendipitously rediscover this photo of Sam, taken in 2011.

As these stream of consciousness journeys often lead, the splayed out black lining brought to mind a favorite album from the 1960s. Back then, jazz pianist George Shearing had a very popular run of Capitol LPs which combined the sound of the George Shearing Quintet with full orchestra. Capitol engineers made particularly good use of those stereo masters in these inviting recordings.

Each was adorned by some rather luscious album art featuring comely lasses in come-hither poses. While these sets, including two of my faves, “White Satin” and “Black Satin” later were released on CD, I must say the effect was more arresting when these high-fashion photos appeared in the classic twelve inch square format in the days of vinyl and record shops with bins of LPs.

If you flipped past one of these covers without stopping to gaze, perhaps just briefly flipping it over to check the tunes and scan the notes, before quickly returning your adoring gaze to the front and heading to the cashier with it, well, you were probably long overdue for a visit to your doctor.

I’m not saying ol’ Sam was as alluring on his “black satin” as the gal on the cover of Shearing's "Black Satin," but the pose certainly carried me back to my record shop perusing and subsequent listening.

Care to join me for a track?

George and his sidemen and arranger/band leader Billy May have also crossed the rainbow bridge. But that’s OK. Their spirit and art linger on and continue to delight. In his own sweet way, so does ol’ gentle Sam.

©2016 Steve Ember

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home