“[Fud Livingston’s] final decade was a difficult one, and a pernicious addiction to alcohol ultimately took him out ahead of schedule. Until shortly before his death on March 25, 1957, Fud Livingston could periodically be seen playing piano at the back of various bars in certain sections of New York City.” – Notes for the Jazz Oracle Collection.
You’re looking a little peaked today, Fud.
You too, Bobby… Set one up for me, ok? And, ah, put it on the cuff, would ya?
Hey, just cause you ain’t been in here in a while don’t mean you don’t owe me for the last three times.
Excuse me, gents. That’s alright, I’ll take care of it.
I appreciate it, buddy.
That’s alright. Still a couple people around here who know who you are.
I’ll get the shakes out and then we’ll see what happens…One more oughta do it. Bobby?
[four stools down] Hey, buddy, you telling me this rum dum is somebody.
When the world was young.
That’s good. When the world was young-and gay. I’ll say.
I’m good to go now. Hey, mister. You wanna hear a tune?
You know my song “Feelin’ No Pain?”
You wrote that?
[four stools down] Yea, that’s the rum dum’s national anthem. Ironic, ain’t it?
Hey, you wise-acre half-wit! I played with Bix Beiderbecke! You understand me? What that means? I played with everybody—Miller, Goodman, Miff, Nichols!
Ok, Fud, calm down. I gotta admit. He knows how to play the damn piano.
Better’n that shit they call music now.
Fud, you were a respected guy. In demand.
Damn right. They needed a nice arrangement, they called Fud.
So, I gotta ask-what the hell happened?
I dunno, Bobby. Bix died, some of the guys changed their style. I got old. Jazz got old.
[Fud wrestles music from a beat-up piano. He drops a few notes, but a spark of genius survives, or so I like to think.]