Walter Savage and Yancy Taylor Surprise Harley White on His Birthday

On January 27, 2006, we went to Rustico, in Sausalito, California for a birthday party for two of our favorite musicians in the area. The celebration was hosted by Walter Savage, bassist, in honor of Yancy Taylor, vibraphonist, and Harley White, bassist. It was billed as a surprise birthday party for Harley.

Walter organizes live performances for this Italian restaurant. The room is not very big. Two tiers. The front room is divided into a bar on one side and restaurant on the other. A step-up level, same size as the restaurant portion of the lower level, also serves diners. All and all, it is not very big, so the place was packed. They squeezed the musicians to the end of the bar. So with people standing around, it was impossible to see the action if you were dining.

Walter always could bring the people in. Therefore, besides Yancy and himself, Eddie Marshall came to play drums, and so did Bob Bray. Ben Flint was on piano. Faye Carol sang a song or two. Mal Sharpe, of Big Money in Jazz fame, was seen in the audience. So were John Handy and Khalil Shaheed, bassist Ed Williams, and a few more.

Friends of the Jazz community whom we know included Ed Kelly's lady, Betty, Tomas Eusterbrock, and Margie Coate. I don't mean to just drop names. But the place was crowded and noisy. There were diners who didn't care about the music, and customers waiting for tables. So after Fran (Harley's wife) dragged Harley (he wasn't going to come) to the restaurant and truly surprised him, we paid our respects, sang the birthday song, and relinquished our table for those who had been waiting.

Kudos to Walter who managed to fill the house and Fran who could keep it under wraps.

 By Stella Cheung Houston

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