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Saturday June 24th 2017

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The Witty Composer

(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.

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