FOR THE BLIND TIGER
Etch him in brown
Here is an upright man.
Born to lie down.
John Rose Gildea
For a Friend
Ten Eyck Van Deusen
Valiant because true
John Rose Gildea
Maxe's 29 September 1934
Transcript from Mother's Memories
The gentleman that got grease on the wall ate a banana. He was an alcoholic.
His name was John Rose Gildea. He was a poet.
His hair was very greasy. He was short and very Irish. He was a very small man, but a very nice little man. A very drunk little man.
He was perennially drunk. He died of cirrhosis of the liver finally. But he had been a newspaper writer of some note. He came from Arizona.
Live at the Village Vanguard, Max Gordon, St Martin, 1980;
Da Capo Press, 1982.
October 06, 1999
Review in the British publication, The Herald.
Ken Gallacher uncovers a new chapter in the history of the Village Vanguard. The
Village Vanguard stands beneath its faded awning down on Seventh Avenue around 11th
Street in New York City in the same basement spot it has occupied for more than 60 years.
It survived for the first half century because of the good taste - and the perseverance - of its
owner Max Gordon. Since his death some
15 years ago it has continued with the policies he stood by and is now, surely, the longest
running jazz club in the world.
How it all came about, how a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania became a notable fixture on
the New York club scene, was told by Gordon himself in a book which first came out in 1980 but
has now miraculously re-appeared under the imprint of the Da Capo Press. It is not only a book
about jazz musicians, it is also a book about Greenwich Village and about the poets and folk
singers and comedians who went in and out of the Vanguard as it evolved through the decades
of its existence.
It's about the characters who walked the streets of the Village when it was the Bohemian
quarter of New York. It's about Joe Gould and Maxwell Bodenheim and John Rose Gildea,
about the Revuers, a group which featured the song-writing team of Adolphe Green and Betty
Comden, and actress Judy Holliday - later to be married to the baritone saxophonist Gerry
Mulligan - about Wally Cox and Lenny Bruce, about Leadbelly and Josh White, about Dinah
Washington and Betty Carter.
Mostly, though, it's about the Village Vanguard itself, that unprepossessing basement room
which has played host to so many of the top names in the jazz and entertainment business.