Transferring cassettes to MP3 files is an arduous process. The technical aspect is easy enough; it’s the labeling of tracks that’s confusing. My printing is faded and obscured. There are distracting icons in the background of the paper, what looks like some sort of skeletal figure, holding eggs maybe. The title for one song is clear enough: Malcolm X extract…but I can’t make out the name of the composer. I remember finding the album in the dollar bin of a secondhand record store many years before; I can picture it well, a bright cartoonish lake. But I can’t remember the name of the composer. I remember the piano music. And then I remember that it is from the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. I was very excited about discovering that in the record store because I had just been in Montreux on a bike trip with 15 others. We had seen B.B. King at the festival and listened to Trio’s Da Da Da in the disco clubs across Europe. I bought the album on impulse, and everyone on the trip signed it. I must admit to going kind of crazy in those summer weeks. I pedaled right off the road. Furniture was dumped into a pool. A hotel door was burned with 160-proof rum. I even refused to visit a concentration camp because I didn’t want to be depressed. There was wine – and rum – involved in all of that. And I remember getting into a long discussion with a friend I had made through these travels, Adam Davidson, about everything from literature to the Holocaust. I pontificated nonsense while Adam was personable and good-humored. I really enjoyed his company and then lost touch with him as soon as the trip had ended. He was playing college football in Ohio; that was all I knew.Years passed, and I was watching the Oscars Awards, and Adam Davidson’s name was announced as a nominee in the category for Best Short for a film called The Lunch Date. I knew it had to be another Adam Davidson, but then The Lunch Date won, and Adam Davidson, the Adam Davidson I knew, was thanking people on stage. That was really weird. I wanted to make contact but I didn’t know how to go about it, and I thought it would seem like I was just calling him because he was famous…which I probably was. I later rented the film and used it in my teaching.
It was some time after that again that I mused with a friend about wanting to get in touch with Adam. She worked at the D.A.’s Office and put together a print-out of his home address and phone number. That was too weird – and probably illegal – and so I tore it up…which brings me to now, me working on this blog.
Adam Davidson’s name comes up as the director of a number of television shows, including Grey’s Anatomy and Lost. However most of the Google images for Adam Davidson are not of the Adam Davidson I know, but of a NPR radio host who has been accused of journalistic corruption. That definitely isn’t him. I just had to scroll down further to find an image of my Adam Davidson. And another from a 2006 wedding announcement in The New York Times. I have consider trying to contact him now, but I know that would really be weird. It’s been almost 30 years. I would look like a stalker and he would probably be polite but then file an injunction or something to make sure I didn’t bother him again.
And so I get back on task and google what I was supposed to be googling: Malcolm X Jazz Montreux…and there it was, the same album I had found in the dollar bin of the secondhand record store years ago. The composer’s name was Don Pullen. And then I realized I didn’t have the track name correct. It wasn’t Malcolm X. It was called Dialogue Between Malcolm and Betty. I typed that into the iTunes box.