Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’

Neither the time nor the energy to post anything other than a bit of music, so I’ve picked a track someone happens to have posted on Youtube. I have Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’ the original vinyl LP on the Verve label, but it’s still waiting for me to transfer it to digital. I love this record so much because it’s so joyful and at the same time so tragic. There’s some wonderfully upbeat stuff from the two trumpeters, the great Harry “Sweets” Edison (whom I’ve had the privilege to hear play live), who opens the piece, and then the perhaps even greater Roy Eldridge, but it’s also one of the last recordings made by legendary saxophonist Lester Young who was terminally ill with cancer at the time of this session in February 1958; he died just a year later. His formerly smooth tenor tone now ragged, barely able to stand or hold the saxophone, and playing almost in slow motion, he nevertheless manages to cast his fading light over the latter part of this tune and conjure up something quite magical. The other members of the band are Herb Ellis (guitar), Hank Jones (piano), George Duvivier (bass) and Mickey Sheen (drums) and this track is called Romping.

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One Response to “Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’”

  1. Leo LoFrisco Says:

    I was in the army with Mickey Sheen in Germany. I remember he was deathly afraid of crossing the ocean back to NYC on July 3, 1947. Mid ocean we woke Mickey and told him rhe dhip was sinking and he was scared to death. Of couirse that was when we were in our late teens and what we did seemed like fun. I now realize how stupid that was. Mickey was a great drummer and a good guy.

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