In the late fifties and early sixties Downbeat magazine ran a column entitled “Out Of My Head” written by George Crater. It was an often hilarious perspective on the jazz scene and had a huge impact on a couple of teenagers who had just discovered Jazz but were stranded in the antipodes.
I haven’t been able to find out a lot about George (pseudonym for Ed Sherman) except that he was a jazz disk jockey on WNCN, a New York radio station. He invented “Wind-up Dolls”, a comic device that flourished in the early sixties (eg “You wind up the John Birch doll and it moves to the right, then it moves to the right again”). When the young iconoclasts, such as Ornette Coleman, appeared on the scene around 1960 George was definitely out of his comfort zone (“You wind up the Ornette Coleman doll and it forgets the changes”) and I suspect his heart always belonged to Bop.
Amongst his creations was a group of musicians with names such as Prez Glick, Quincy Cohn, Thelonius Crasner, Miles Cosnat and Gimp Lymphly. In my memory the bandleader was usually the legendary saxophonist, Zoot Finster. George’s reviews of Finster’s records and his interviews with the musicians are the stuff of comedy legend (or they were in 1962).
So this blog’s title is an affectionate nod to a now obscure comedy talent who unwittingly helped me through my formative years. Let me hasten to add that I do not expect to split sides with my humorous output; I’ll leave that to George. These are merely the ruminations of an old curmudgeon. Think of them as an occasional J&B and muenster cheese.