(Nelson Riddle Appreciation Society “Nelson’s Notes” ARCHIVES, May 2009)
by Alphonso Tomaino
It was during the later part of the mid-thirties when Nelson and I were members and playing in a local orchestra which consisted of young musicians. Nelson played trombone. Later we learned that he was a music student and was being taught by his high school’s music teacher.
At a rehearsal one evening Nelson brought an arrangement of a song which was one of the best songs on “The Best Song List”. I was really impressed with the voicing of the (reeds) played by the saxophone section. The voicing was a sonorous duplication of the popular orchestra of Glenn Miller. The title of the song was “Judy”.
I never will forget Nelson’s humorous music related question. While driving to an orchestra rehearsal together we passed a disabled car at the side of the road where a man was changing a tire. Nelson asked, “Funz, what key do you suppose he’s doing that in?” I thought, then replied, “I have no idea”. “A flat” Nelson gleefully replied.