Benny Lives, a Thank You note

Dear Mr. Friedland,

A month or so ago I wrote to you asking advice on performing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” I just wanted to let you know that your kind and thorough comments were enormously helpful to me. With a little practice, using your breathing guidelines and an accompanist who was most willing to work things out, I managed not to ruin a friend’s wedding and actually got very good reviews. You have my eternal gratitude.

I also got raves for my rendition of “Memories of You,” again thanks to you. Practicing in front of a mirror per your suggestion has helped with that and many other little issues I’ve been having. (However, I must say that when I play that particular tune I can only hear Benny Goodman’s rendition, and the comparison makes me want to throw my horn across the room in frustration. So far I’ve resisted the temptation.)
This kind of note is very touching indeed and especially because of Benny. Recently I have read a few comments concerning Artie Shaw and Benny, and they were disparaging, calling them unbecoming names having to do with personality and commercialism.
I find comments like these to be unfortunate and am still happy over the success of these two great genius people. They did more for our instrument than all of the “Classical” players combined, and there will never be a question about that.Contrary to what you may hear, I knew Benny and found him to be a very gracious and caring fellow, and of course my raison d’etre for playing this horn.
Play well and stay well and Happy Holiday Weekend.


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