I grew up in Manhasset, NY during the forties and fifties, when white picket fences and Ozzie and Harriet portrayed the all American, Norman Rockwell life-style. Coming from an Irish Catholic mother, I was one of six children…falling right in the middle as the fourth boy, with two younger sisters. Our father was a professional trumpet player with CBS television network in New York City, and our mother had been a singer with Joe Haymes and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. It was only natural that music filled our lives. The family would gather around a crackling fire while the mysterious light emanating from the Victrola would tantalize us with visions and specters that swayed to the dancing flames and the mesmerizing sounds of Moussorsky, Respeghi, Rimsky Korsakoff, Ella Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Benny Goodman, Billy Butterfield (our neighbor and good friend) etc, and filling our world with the wondrous sonance of melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. I’m certain that I drove my siblings mad as I would be possessed with an absolute hunger to listen, over and over and over, to The Haydn Trumpet Concerto before bursting out of the door in time to catch the bus on the way to school. I never quite resolved my own issues as to whether I suffered from a seemingly unmitigated IQ, or an apparently un-medicated A.D.D. Music was like Prozac for this hyperactive and demonic child.
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