2010-04-05

Lion, it catches up with you!

"The last time I saw my old friend [James P. Johnson], he was in a coma. For two weeks he hadn't spoken to anybody. I thought to myself: Old Fats, the Gemini; James P., the Aquarius; and Willie, Sagittarius. There was an old piano in the room and I sat down. I played the "Carolina Shout". It was his tune, his piano selection, and I played it like he played it. It was stride piano, guys playing with two hands. Then Jimmy opened his eyes and smiled. He managed to write out a message. LION, it said, THEY WERE TOO GOOD TO THE PIANO PLAYERS WITH ALL THAT FREE BOOZE AND RICH FOOD. IT CATCHES UP WITH YOU."

From Willie The Lion Smith's Music On My Mind autobiography.

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