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Remembering Stan...

Irving Bob Mesher, Stan's childhood friend

I received an email (below) from a lovely gentleman by the name of Irving Mesher. It seems Irving was a childhood friend of Stan’s and next door neighbor. I do have a very faint memory of hearing about a childhood buddy named "Irv". However, Mr. Mesher was known as "Bob" back then! It seems that Irv is the man responsible for getting Stan playing the sax. Turns out that Stan wanted to play the drums in Irv’s band! (DRUMS!!! OIY!!) But since they already had a drummer, (phew! I must admit I am happy about that lil’ twist of fate!) Irv told him to get hold of a sax as that was the instrument needed in the band. As they say... the rest is history!

I feel so blessed to have this connection with Bob and so happy that he has joined us here on Stan's forum! Stop by his page and say hello!

Read on...Bev (-:

ps... Let me clarify to all drummers... that I mean no offense regarding Stan being a drummer instead of a tenor player! It's simply that I find it hard to imagine how his sound and affinity for a melody would have translated on that instument! Am I right?! ((-: xoxo

To whom it may concern: My name is Irving (Bob) Mesher. I am 83 years of age and was a childhood best friend and music associate of Stan Getz when we were about 13 years of age. I would like to take this opportunity to present some interesting facts which were not mentioned in any of Stan’s bio’s over the years. While most of the bio’s were 95% correct, I would like to add or correct some of the facts...Stan and I were friends before he ever started playing the sax. Stan lived at 1459 Minford Place in the Bronx and I lived at 1449 Minford Place, just a few buildings apart. We often played softball together in nearby Crotona Park. I was playing the trumpet for about a year or so and had a small neighborhood three piece band. Stan, at that time enjoyed playing and showing off his talents on the harmonica. He expressed an interest in joining our three piece band and wanted to play drums in the band. I told Stan we already had a drummer and he should convince his parents to buy him a saxophone since we had no sax in the band. His parents did purchase a sax for him. He was so thrilled with the arrival of the instrument, he immediately brought it to my home to show it to me. For the very first time, he took the sax out of the dirty case, figured out how to put the reed and ligature together and believe it our not, began to play Begin the Beguine not ever playing a note on a sax before. I then realized that the sax his parents had purchased for him was a "C" Melody sax which was obsolete as far as sax’s go. I had to explain this to Stan so he convinced his parents again and they purchased an alto sax for him. Correcting his bio about his first music teacher being Bill Shiener, it was a neighborhood sax teacher Al Avon who lived just down the block that was his very first music teacher. After about three months of lessons from Al Avon, his teacher gave up on Stan since Stan completed all of the lesson books and could teach him no more, and was ready to move on to Bill Shiener. Stan and I enjoyed our very first music gig playing for his father’s fraternal club on New Years Eve and we each earned our first $1. Yes, one dollar each. Stan and I both attended Herman Ridder Junior High School where we first got our organized musical experience. Stan always expressed a keen interest in all musical instruments and would be allowed to play a different instrument at each rehearsal. We both then graduated and went on to James Monroe H.S. in the Bronx where he gained basic musical education from our musical conductor and teacher by the name of Major Becker who realized Stan’s talents. I have in my possession for many years, a school photograph of Stan and myself in the James Monroe school dance band at the age of 15. In addition, I also have two business cards printed by his dad (a printer by trade) with Stan’s name and the two other band members including myself. Stan as you know left school at 16 to join the Dick Rogers band for a short stint and then on to his meteoric rise to fame with Jack Teagarten’s band. I would gladly share Stan’s childhood memorabilia which I possess,to anyone expressing interest...I have sent this history on to Downbeat magazine. Although they did express interest in the information, I have not heard from them in over three months...I would like to know if there is any way I can contact the daughter of Stan. There was a time where there was a remote possibility that his daughter would meet up with my son Buddy. Stan wanted his daughter to meet my son. They were both about 17 at the time...Feel free to contact me if any of this information interests you... Thank you...Irving Mesher, owner of ...

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Comment by Joannah on May 1, 2008 at 10:04pm
Thank you for posting this Bev! And thank you Irv (Bob) for sharing these wonderful memories... especially about his first teacher "giving up on Stan" because he learned everything so fast... no surprise there ;-) And about earning his first dollar... too sweet! AND COME ON WITH THAT PIC... Stan in the white shoes... LOVE IT!!!!!!

Thanks again... just wonderful!
Comment by Marla on May 9, 2008 at 11:23am
Yeah, Bev, might have been a whole different storyline all around, yes? Actually, I know quite a few musicians - pianists, saxophonists, etc., - they love playing their main instrument, but many harbor secret thoughts of being a world class jazz drummer! I think if it is the other way around - learning saxophone, trumpet, piano first, then a musician has an excellent understanding of dynamics, playing ballads, etc. Mel Torme, Lionel Hampton and the lesser-known, but great saxophonist Jerry Bergzoni, all loved/love playing drums. The story is wonderful and I'm glad folks are finding you and sharing with the community!



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