Two seasoned jazz players who found the celluloid life not to their liking, pianist Bill Mays and bassist Red Mitchell, will perform a program of standards and originals, including some improvised lyrics by the bassist, at Charlie's tonight.
Mays spoke recently of his years in Hollywood, where he was active in the studios from the late 1960s until last year, when he moved to New York. His credits include the films "Superman" and "Gremlins" and the TV series "The Fall Guy" and "Knight Rider," the last of which he had difficulty remembering the title of.
"My cloudy memory is a statement on that business," Mays says. "You typically do 10 or 12 recording dates a week, each one for a different picture, commercial or television show -- it gets to be a blur after a while." Somehow Mays found time to be concert accompanist for Al Jarreau, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan, and play club dates with the late saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Art Pepper and others.
Mitchell, a veteran of countless big bands and combos since the 1940s and former first bass at MGM, pulled up stakes in 1968 and settled in Stockholm because he "didn't want to continue doing movie and TV music, which I felt was contributing to the atmosphere of violence here. I have to take my share of the blame," adds Mitchell. "I was playing on the 'Peter Gunn' show in the late '50s, which was the first in a long series of shoot-'em-ups that used jazz in the background." -- W. Royal Stokes.