AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
Thank you to both who replied here. The stories about Sonny Stitt in Shadyside...I remember Sonny Stitt coming to play at the downtown Encore II about '77. He was a huge success there, a full house every night and two shows an evening. I agree as well, Kenny Karsh is a genius and I have known him and his family since I was 13 years old. His older sister was my best friend and he and Eric still going strong.
To jdlaughead, thank you for a great story of how Harold Betters came to the Encore and actually became the ultimate act there, his quartet and he known at the Encore as "The House that Betters Built"! I know Harold and his lovely family and it is such a wonderful experience to see and know these musical genius' still playing, still working. Harold is a testimony to that, especially at 84 years young! Thank you for great responses. Harold and his daughter Cheryl are on this network so if you would like to write to them, look them up on here and you can. Thanks again and keep the Jazz memories coming in! Shawn
I remember a lot about the Encore, and Harold Betters, Harold use to play at the Pitt Pott on Centre Ave, near Craig & Centre. In fact in around 1958-59, that is where I first heard him, they use to have Saturday afternoon Jam sessions there. I recorded him live there. Then around 1960, they sold the Pitt Pott, and sold Motorcycles their. In the mean time Harold was working at National Records Mart. I use to go to the Encore after work, as they had double Martini's for the price of singles for 75 cents. What a blast! So when I heard Harold was out of work, I told him to come over to Walnut street on a Tuesday night, and I took him over to the Encore and bring his Trombone, and I introduced him to Will Shiner, and at that time all he had who was playing music, there was a organ player. Well that was the start, Harold started first playing Saturday afternoons, which I really enjoyed, and also Played at the Hadden Hall on Centre Ave. Later Harold was playing six nights and saturday afternoon at the Encore. I knew he was Great ,and was like Al Hirt of the Trombone.
I then told him we should make a record, and we had two different recording sessions, but it wasn't what I wanted and the studio's had poor equipment and very poor microphones. I don't like a Rehearsal sound I want it spontaneous! About a month later a new Studio moved into town, called United Recording, which was at the Carlton House, and Talked to Glenn Campbell the owner. What a studio, WOW,
he had the best of microphones, Telefonkens, Neumans, Sony Condenser mikes, and a very Dead Sounding studio, when you talked, you didn't hear any sound just lips moving. So I set up a appointment for a two hour recording session. I called Harold the next day, to get his group together to record. I told him to meet me at the Luna Resturant, at Craig & Centre for a drink, before we record. When he came into the Luna I ask him what he would like, and he said, JD, Jack Daniels so I told the Bartender give him a double-double, and I had a Martini, and then I said Harold, how about one for the road, so he had another Double-Double. The reason I did that, was I wanted him loose, for the other sessions, he wasn't loose, and was alway worried about what his side men were doing, and I didn't want to waste any more money. Well we went into United Recording, and did songs and 14 takes with out a retake. I had 500 records made, which we sold to the customers at the Encore. Harold later asked me for the master so Gateway Recording could add Echo to it, and the Recording Harold Betters at the Encore, is the tape we did at United Recording. On Piano was John Hughes, on Bass was Al O'Brien, on Drums Joe Ashliman.