Then there was Tony

Often I write about the people whom I know. A regular mention is my friend Jill Halliday.  We go back to about 1986.  I attach significance to the date because it is precisely a decade after my arrival in Almonte in 1976 and a decade before I commenced my alliance with my partner Denis Arial in 1996.

Jill has always distinguished herself by her love for her family.  From that deep coordinate has sprung an affection for the music JIll’s late father Mike Halliday so enjoyed. She has written a piece (copy below) which she published on FaceBook. Here it is.

Bennett’s death was confirmed by his publicist Sylvia Weiner in a statement to the Associated Press. She said he died in his hometown of New York. No specific cause of death was announced, but Bennett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

Tony Bennett, one of the most beloved and recognizable voices in the history of American popular music, died Friday at 96, less than two weeks shy of his birthday, his publicist said in a statement.

 

Tony Bennett is in my DNA. I love him. A few years ago, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I realize now, I started my (private) long goodbye. This morning, my friend Marion phoned me to tell me the news of his passing.

My childhood home was filled with music. My dad was an audiophile. He installed speakers (back when bigger was better…..remember four foot TANOYS?) in every area of the house, all levels, with a master switchboard extraordinaire which allowed the one in charge to choose ONE room, two, or ALL THE ROOMS for the music to play! As for genres, we had them all! It was the 1960’s and ‘70’s Baby, and OMG! it was great!

It was a charmed time for little Jill, surrounded by the music of her family.

Mom’s influence Classical Music. Jill’s two older sisters’ were the BANDS! and the stuff of COOL KIDS! And Dad?<

It was AAAAALLLL Jazz.

While my Supercool sisters were off doing supergroovy stuff with their mega cool groovy friends, I was home, being my own brand of cool, practicing piano, or working out choreography for my upcoming puppet show of Jesus Christ Superstar. And, since I was ever present, I was available to help my dad with all kinds of projects. And THAT is when little jill was introduced to AAAAALLLL genres of jazz! From Big Bands, to rare live recordings of Charlie Parker. The music would be BLASTING, and dad would be yelling over the music to me “Okay honey! Who’s on Bass?!” And I’d shout “SLAM STEWART!” and he’d yell “HOT DAMN! RIGHT ON! OKAY! WHO’S ON DRUMS?!” And I’d shout “GENE KRUPA?!” and he’d yell “GENE KROOOO-PAAHHH!!  I was so happy.

Then there was Tony.

Tony Bennett was an incredible man. I mean, the person. Kind, charming, an accomplished painter, and a champion of new and upcoming talents. His voice was like no other. Honestly. So beautiful. And powerful.

When I was in Grade thirteen, my parents took me out of class one day, (that NEVER happened) and we went to Ontario Place (to that little outdoor revolving stage that’s surrounded by a few bleachers and the little hill). We saw Tony Bennett and Bill Evans.

Sorry. I just had to re-read that. “We saw Tony Bennett and Bill Evans.”

Yep. That’s what that says.

I chose to attach the song “I WANNA BE AROUND” because it’s fun to belt out! Goodbye Mr. Bennett. Say “Hi” to my dad for me!