Greenie’s Blues

Saturday, 11 July 2009 — 10:23pm | Jazz, Music

Prowlers of Wikipedic biographies may have come across the factoid that Alan Greenspan was once a Juilliard-educated jazz musician who played with Stan Getz. What you may not know, however, is that “Greenie” was allegedly a very good jazz musician—or could have been, were he not intimidated out of it by the best. As Joe Queenan reports in The Weekly Standard:

Napolitano was in the room the night Greenspan’s supernova career fizzled out. It was September 14, 1949, and Greenspan found himself in the same Greenwich Village club as John Coltrane. Coltrane, a convivial sort, went out of his way to be friendly to the youngster, but Greenspan was having none of it. Sax at the ready, he challenged Coltrane to an onstage showdown. It was a mistake he would regret for the rest of his life.

“Trane smoked his ass,” Parnell remembers. “Greenie foolishly tore into ‘Cherokee,’ Charlie Barnet’s old standby, but Trane knew that tune inside out from his days in Kansas City. Greenie tried to keep up, but no chance. Trane didn’t rile easily, but something about the way Greenie carried himself didn’t suit John. Trane took him apart.”

(No, it isn’t true. But, much like the Orson Welles film of The Bat-Man, it’s a story one wants to believe.)


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One rejoinder to “Greenie’s Blues”

  1. Guillaume L.

    As intriguing as all of this is, I find it even more interesting to note that Ayn Rand once broke up a fistfight between Sonny Rollins and Alan Greenspan.

    Man, NYC was a happening place back then.

    Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 12:13am

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