The US Air Force drummer in the band came to the TLA hotel where I was staying near the Naples American High School on my first night in Italy. His name was Stanley Swann. He knocked on my room door, I answered, he introduced himself and said get your horn and let’s go play. I said okay.
I got into his car which was the smallest Fiat I had ever seen in my life and had to hold my alto saxophone in my lap because Stanley’s drums took up the remaining unoccupied space.
We drove quickly in and out of traffic, honking at other cars and people, then stopped at a deli where two Italian musicians were already setting up in a space near an outlet.
Stanley introduced me to bass player Massimo Luise e DINO MASSA the pianist and when he was finished setting up his drum kit we played jazz standards for a couple of hours then ate Napoli pizza and talked. At that time I only knew a few rudimentary phrases in Italian but their English was good enough that I didn’t notice any communication barrier.
Besides, Stanley spoke fluent Italian. I played jazz gigs with this same basic quartet every night that I wasn’t working locally or away touring with the Commander In Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe NATO Band.
The NATO Band assignment turned out to be my best military band assignment and we did it alone from each other on two different continents as an “all others” tour. The first of only two military duty assignments in a 22+ year career without Terri and our children with me. The money I earned playing those off-duty gigs paid for my plane tickets home to visit my family. Something so cool. Something so sad. Life’s best gifts. Bittersweet like that.
Fast forward to today and I am glad that Stanley and I kept in touch over the years. He was the son of a professional drummer and originally from Chicago. That’s where he got his killer shuffle beat. Stanley ultimately settled in the Boston area after the Air Force where he recorded, performed and taught at the Berklee College of Music. My friend Stanley passed away a few years ago.
I have never heard directly from Massimo Luise the bassist after I left but was told by him when we were playing jazz together that he would take over his family’s yacht harboring business and leave music ultimately. I searched the web and saw that he is doing that now. (https://luise.com)
However the jazz pianist Dino Massa has remained professionally active and successful over the years. We even reconnected on Facebook many years ago and before the pandemic he came to visit us in Kansas City. We played several co-led concerts and gigs in KC at venues like The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum, Museum at Prairiefire, Take Five Coffee + Bar that was once at 5336 W 151st St. in Leawood, Kansas, along with recording the critically acclaimed album titled “Echoes of Europe” as Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet at Craig Rettmer’s studio in midtown. (https://ChristopherBurnett.us)
Dino has remained a dear friend of more that thirty years and counting…
Music is positive and powerful.
Musings In Cb: “JAZZ IS A CULTURAL BRIDGE”
PHOTO by Corinna Gray Photography (2023)
Christopher and Terri (Anderson) Burnett established their branch of The Burnett Family in March of 1979 in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are professional musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs based in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.