A couple of weeks ago my friend John Murphy invited me to see his collection of Newport Jazz and Folk Festival memorabilia. John is a former WRIU jazz radio host (aka, The Monsignor or John of Jamestown) and has been going to the Newport festivals since the early 1960s. I wish I had recorded our conversation, he had stories about Duke Ellington and James Brown that I wish I could remember.
The note in the autograph from Myself Among Others relates to having to pull the plug on Jimmy Smith in 1965. The police were about to shut down the festival for running too late and the band was showing no signs of stopping.
John told a story about how he had ordered tickets by mail for the 1966 Folk Festival. When he went to pick them up at the ticket window there were none there. To make good on the error they gave him very good seats right up front, sitting next to Pete Seeger and his wife. He said they were very friendly and he ended up going home with Seeger’s program with his notes for the day inside.