August 1, 2015

Easy run today. I was thinking about the army today.

McGough and Saccone still meet just about every morning if you would like to meet for a jog. Just be there by 0430.  Both men are veterans and Tom experienced D-Day. When I mention that these men are part of the greatest generation, I am not setting the criteria, they truly are special. JPD was in the military too. If you keep up with these posts, you know that Jimmy was in the army. Since he was born in February of 1932, he was too young to join his brethren in WWII. Shortly after being drafted into the army, he found himself in occupied Germany. From some hearsay research, he was based in Frankfurt, Germany. He had acquired some skills prior to being called up. Don’t forget, he played the saxophone and headlined for Jimmy Dolan and the Pastels. I imagine he brought a cocksure attitude to the army and they had to find ways to break him down before they built him back up. I often wonder why he was so good at making beds. Could it be that he said a thing or two to a superior officer and found himself doing army jobs that would get him back in line? I will have to talk to a few people to confirm this. What I do know is that hardship befell the Dolan clan while Jimmy was in Germany. One day, when he was lining up with his fellow soldiers after reveille, he was singled out for a message from command. “James Dolan, we are sorry to inform you that your mother has died.” This devastated the young army private and he began to think how he would make it home to be with his siblings and his Pa. The sergeant that informed him of this heartbreaking news informed him that he had another message. The army expected him to continue his duties uninterrupted. The army would make no allowances for travel home to attend his mother’s funeral. I first heard this story from my dad. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday afternoon and we were cleaning the house, making beds. There was probably a moment that I might have been listening closely and my dad took advantage and told me his story. I never forgot it.

The Beach. Favorite song today: I Can See for Miles performed by The Who.

Running along the strand.

Running along the strand.

July 26, 2015

Long run today. I was thinking about the band today.

It has been said that the name “Jimmy Dolan and the Pastels” was given to JPD by default. It was the latter years of high school that encouragement came from an adviser/mentor name Rocco Eagle. These guys had great names. I am starting to think that they were born with one name and were completely inspired by another name. Who wouldn’t listen closely to the advise given by a guy named Rocco Eagle. As it turns out, Rocco was the the head of the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians. In the 1940s, as today, unions and workers rights extended to the big bands. There were multiple work stoppages and recording bans that were addressing concerns of the musicians rights as workers during the 1940s. Music at this time was transitioning from live shows on the radio and in various halls, including union halls, to vinyl recordings that, for no compensation to the royalty holder, could be played on the radio. Musicians were being thrown out of work and the royalties were not being paid to the musicians and songwriters. Does this sound familiar? The digital music revolution in the late nineties and early part of the 21st century was another tough time to be a musician.

The band was entering the big band scene as musical tastes were changing too. Still, the big sound was very popular. Research has revealed more members of the Pastels. We know about Vito Buffalo, the trumpet playing butcher. There was also Johnny Dimetropolis, otherwise known as Johnny Valentine. Don’t forget about Frankie Paulletti who rivaled Vito on the trumpet.There was also Sammy Ingergio among many others that came and went. Under the tutelage of Rocco Eagle, they would get gigs at weddings and probably a few union halls. I imagine that Rocco was calling the shots and “Jimmy Dolan” was the only name that would fit on the music stand. The music stand was a big part of the show and was valuable real estate to brand the name of the band. So, by default, Jimmy Dolan and the Pastels live on in our memories and our hearts.

A picture of the running path. Favorite song today The Summer Wind performed by Frank Sinatra.

The path in the early morning.

The path in the early morning.

July 17, 2015

Hill workout today. I was thinking about the butcher today.

Researching the “Pastels” over the past few days. Jimmy Dolan and the Pastels were not only a big band jazz combo but they were a big deal too. There have been some discussions about some of the band members. Vito Buffalo recently passed away and was written up by many news sources as lover of family, his chosen profession, and jazz. None of the articles mentioned his first gigs were in Chicago with Jimmy Dolan’s big band, the Pastels. All of the articles mentioned how dedicated he was as a family man and a musician and he worked at the meat market in Algonquin, Il. As a butcher, he probably hummed a million tunes that were near and dear to his heart. I envision that his patrons at the meat market were the beneficiaries of many spontaneous solos. Vito played the trumpet and he played that instrument his whole life. He was my Dad’s age and he loved to cover Louis Armstrong songs. I would imagine that back in the day, with Vito playing trumpet and Jimmy playing the saxophone that the girls in the crowd were picking their favorites (tunes, of course!). It really must have been something to hear them belt out “Ain’t Misbehaving” or “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. I would like to give a big shout out to Vito Buffalo and, I promise, I will find out more about the “Pastels”.

Here is the hill workout and a long shadow in the early morning. Favorite song today: What a Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong.

Hill workout

Hill workout

July 14, 2015

Track workout today. I was thinking about playlists today.

Before JPD was a runner, he blew the sax. His formidable years would have been in the 30s and 40s. This was the Big Band Era. Big sound, lots of horns and the saxophone was in the center of it all. Jimmy Dorsey and Johnny Hodges would have been the saxophone players from which he was formulating his style. My playlists have a lot of songs with various styles of music. It doesn’t matter what style might be playing on my runs, I always hear the saxophone rounding out the song. Although JPD did not talk a lot about it, he had his own band called “Jimmy Dolan and the Pastels”. There is speculation as to what halls he and the band were playing but I heard that one of the venues was at Harlem and Roosevelt roads. The geology building at UIC currently stands on that spot. This is where I studied as an undergraduate and learned all about rocks. This is a connection that I cherish. It is a little strange that generations can be connected by place but it is important to me. When I listen to Frank Sinatra or Count Basie, I am listening for the saxophone in the band, because that is what my dad used to play. The more I hear, the better it sounds.

Look at that smile. Jimmy Dolan in the Army. Favorite song today: Take the A Train performed by Duke Ellington.

Where are the Pastels?

Where are the Pastels?