All His Jazz: The Life and Death of Bob Fosse by Martin Gottfried

By Martin Gottfried

Bob Fosse (19271987), the director and choreographer of Chicago and candy Charity, hasn't ever been extra well known than he's right away. this is the less-publicized part of his story-his impressive ascent from the area of sleazy Chicago strip joints to the glitter of Broadway. A legend's reminiscence is preserved during this eloquent biography.

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So we stopped and we saw this faucet on the outside of the service station. ’ And we went to turn that thing on and the white dude that owned the station said, ‘Hey, boy, take your mouth off o’ there,’ and he wouldn’t let us get any water! And to give you an idea, some of the places that you would least expect it, I’ll never forget when I was on the road with Dinah, we came into Indianapolis early in the morning and the restaurant there wouldn’t serve us and they wouldn’t even sell our road manager, Nat Margo, who was white, anything to bring out to us!

They were coming in late. Now we had played in special events at Club Bali and we had uniforms, we didn’t drink, and we were always on time. At that time Local 17 had a business agent that would come by and check on your union card and stuff like that. Mr. Barns had had all of us join the union, and he was a member of the same lodge as the president of the union. ’ He said that all of Al Dunn’s band, their dues was behind. ‘Okay, this is what we gonna do,’ he said. ‘You have your band settin’ outside tonight.

I can remember, Woody Herman came to the Capital Theater. That was when he had Gene Ammons. Of course they didn’t want Gene to play because he was black. ’ So they eventually let him play. The whole band used to come up to the Caverns and they’d sit in and we’d have a jam session. Every night musicians would come in, whoever was playin’ at the Howard Theatre, and that would help me. I’d practice all day long, getting ready for the night. Of course, Ben Webster, he used to come by and bring his big ol’ Great Dane dog.

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