REVIEW POTPOURRI – Musician: Carl Stevens; The Lotus Club

Carl Stevens

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Carl Stevens

Carl Stevens was the professional name of trumpeter Charles H. Sagle (1927-2015). A 1959 Mercury LP, Muted Memories, featured him with a group of four outstanding session players performing a dozen pop classics.

They include Cole Porter’s I Concent­rate on You, Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer’s Jeeper Creepers, Cy Coleman’s Witchcraft, Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Younger than Springtime , etc. The accompanying musicians included Bobby Christian (1911-1991) on percussion, guitarist Frank D’Rone (1932-2013), John Frigo (1916-2007) on bass and pianist Dick Marx (1924-1997). For those who wish to explore further, each of the four have recorded albums under their own name for Mercury and other labels.

On the surface, the music here might sound like typical background music at a bar or restaurant but, if one listens closely, he/she would hear different shades of phrasing provided by an assortment of mutes and the sharing of solo spotlights among the five musicians.

My copy of the album is on Mercury’s budget priced Wing label whose various classical and pop reissues were found often in downtown Waterville’s long gone dime stores such as Center’s and McClellan’s for $1.47 when I shopped for records at the cheapest possible price. Nowadays, some of the recordings of all five musicians can be heard via YouTube, including the above album.

Lotos Club

The Lotos Club

The Lotos Club was founded in 1870 as a gentleman’s club for the promotion of literature, art, music and other cultural topics; still in operation in New York City, it would eventually honor women with membership.

A 1911 book, Speeches at the Lotos Club contains after dinner speeches from the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, composer Richard Strauss and Mark Twain, and many long forgotten luminaries.

Current members include soprano Renee Fleming, cellist Yo Yo Ma and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

In a speech given January 11, 1908, Mark Twain reminisced about his very happy recent trip to England and then stated, “that you know you can’t understand an Englishman’s joke, and the Englishman can’t understand our jokes. The cause is very simple, it is for the reason that we are not familiar with the conditions that make the point of the English joke.”






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