Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



Trumpeter Kenny Terry and his band played for tourists on Jackson Square in New Orleans.  I went back to my hotel room, got my axe, and — heads-up, Kenny — here I come!

Kenny Terry, trumpet, 2014

Kenny Terry, trumpet, 2014

Kenny Terry said, “Where you from, Kansas?”  Then he announced to the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a special guest from . . . Cleveland!”   We did a Bb blues.  I managed, but I didn’t project; I had a thin sound, at least for outdoors.  Kenny said to me, “You got to play with some balls!”  That hurt.  I said, “I have this cheap plastic reed!”

The word in New Orleans is, If you’re loud, you’re loved. (Phil Frazier, Rebirth.)

Kenny Terry called “What a Wonderful World” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” — tunes I actually knew.  A man danced with me.  (I kept playing.)  He was Dr. Love, a street performer.  No, I don’t have a video or pic of any of this.  The photo above is from the internet.  My wife and family were off somewhere.  But I do have a video of me playing with a gospel singer down the street:

New Orleans was like KlezKamp, except it was trad jazz and funky brass bands everywhere.  I saw four terrific clarinetists in two blocks.  One was Doreen Ketchens.  I said to her, “I saw you on Treme in the airport scene.  I told my wife you weren’t playing in that.”  Doreen said she was playing.  I said, “The main actor — the trombone player — wasn’t playing.  He’s from The Wire.”  Doreen explained that a real trombonist played the music off-camera while the actor faked it.

By Central Grocery, New Orleans, clarinetist Ricky Paulin played, and even asked my musician son, Jack, to sit in on tambourine (after my prompting).  My son said no thanks. When is Jack going to learn?   Ricky Paulin’s dad played with Kid Ory, Jack!  I’m not afraid to talk to musicians.  That’s the thing about musicians, they’re all approachable.*

*Exception: Miles Davis.

Other busking stories are “Playing Rome” (9/3/14) and “Down on the Corner”  (5/5/10).  “Busking” is an American English word now.  Everybody in New Orleans uses it.

Also, please check out “Live, From the Nursing Home,” my op-ed in the New York Times (Monday, Feb. 2).  Illustration by Joao Fazenda:

nyt ill by joao fizenda  2_215

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1 Mark Schilling { 02.04.15 at 9:15 am }

You talked to Miles — I gotta give you credit for that. But, no, he wasn’t going to let you climb on stage and jam on “Bitch’s Brew.”

2 Bert Stratton { 02.04.15 at 9:50 am }

To Mark Schilling:

Yeah, Miles Davis at Hill Aud., Ann Arbor, 1970.

3 Marc { 02.04.15 at 1:57 pm }

I like the video. That dude can sing. And you did a nice job accompanying him.

4 Ken Goldberg { 02.04.15 at 4:27 pm }

Bits and pieces….

I don’t believe you really played with Kenny Terry; no photo, no video, no believe. [Now I’ll have to look up who the hell he is.]

As far as advertising your blog as “fresh every Wednesday morning,” I know of a case or two of reruns – stale!

As for your playing with the gospel singer, I’m glad to see all those years of lessons and performing have finally paid off.

Personally, I went to high school with Pauline Yu and Myrna Goldstein!

5 Bert Stratton { 02.04.15 at 5:06 pm }

To Ken Goldberg:

Hey, I’ve never posted just a rerun. And by the way, they’re not “reruns,” they’re “classics.”

6 Dave Rowe { 02.12.15 at 10:10 am }

Busking is popular here in Asheville (located in the heart of western North Carolina)- I, with guitar, have tried it – no money, just the company of a wino who likes Merle Haggard, then a college girl who’d never heard of Stephen Foster let alone Neil Young.

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