The Hammer


I always had a hard time coming up with the emotional roller coaster ride that was my life. Like most siblings who were tossed back and forth between parents, I love both my parents in different ways and for different reasons. Actually, on the whole of it, they were a good match. They were both musically talented, both worked as onstage professionals in the jazz arena and both were successful in their prospective niche.

Jon Hendricks, jazz vocalist, met my mom Colleen Jean (Connie) Moore in Toledo Ohio at a popular Toledo Jazz club at the time called The Gay Nineties  probably around 1948. Anyone who was anyone in terms of jazz was at this club at any one time or another; Chick Webb featuring Ella Fitzgerald, The Count, Duke, the local Art Tatum, Charlie Parker – the list is long and a who’s who of jazz at that time.

They began an affair that bloomed into marriage by 1948. I believe my mom and dad were the only married singing duet in jazz history that I am aware of and they sang together in clubs for years even after moving to New York City in 1954. We moved into a large apartment flat in the Bronx 2 blocks off of Boston Rd. not far from the Bronx Zoo – 1350 Hicks Street, right across the street from  my first school, PS 78.  We traveled mostly by bus and cab then as they were just finishing the IRT subway extension north to Pelham Village.

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