Jackie’s Gone.

September 19th, 2014 § 5 comments

New York 1953 or 1954. HG was combining two careers: journalist and night club (mostly jazz joints) press agent. HG was press agent for the short lived midtown Clique Club where the late Sammy Benskin, a superb jazz pianist and an HG pal, was headlining with his trio. Sammy called HG and told him to get down to the club the next night when a vocal duo, Jackie and Roy, would be making a guest appearance. You will be blown away, promised Sammy. And, so it came to pass. They did “Mountain Greenery” and it was a revelation. Did their takes on some standards and the tunes became as fresh as a Spring morning. How to describe Jackie’s voice? Champagne bubbles. A mountain stream. Silver. Warm, glowing verbal precision with the earthy hint of her Midwestern accent. No, words aren’t ample, HG was surprised at the couple’s appearance. Jazz performers either wore outlandish clothes (women in super snug “mermaid” gowns) or were drug addled and unkempt. Handsome Roy Kral looked like an Ivy League fashion plate and beautiful Jackie Cain wore tweeds. Yes, tweeds. Not sequins. The two best looking people in the jazz world. (No need to recount their career. The NY Times and LA times had good, accurate obituaries of Jackie this week). Listened to their albums but never saw them again until Fire Island in the 60’s. Jackie and Roy were beach neighbors and HG/BSK formed a close friendship that lasted through Roy’s death in 2002 and Jackie’s death this week. When HG/BSK moved to Montclair, NJ. in the 70’s, Jackie and Roy soon followed (and that’s where Jackie died). So many joyous memories. And, some tragic ones. Their strikingly beautiful daughter, Niki, died in an automobile accident. Jackie and Roy were wonderful to our children. Jackie, who had an ethereal beauty, was a surprisingly robust cook in the Czech/Polish tradition. Our families ate, drank, played and laughed together for many decades. Now, Jackie’s gone. Another bright light from HG’s life has been dimmed. Permit HG to share a memory: Roy once recalled that the first time he accompanied Jackie was at a Chicago night club. Jackie was 18 and fresh out of high school. Roy was reluctant. Didn’t think much of girl singers. She changed his mind. Jackie sang that great Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg song: “Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe.” Said Roy: “The place went nuts.” Years later, at an HG birthday dinner, sang the song (unaccompanied) as a birthday treat. HG went nuts.

220px-Jackie_&_Roy

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§ 5 Responses to Jackie’s Gone."

  • Stevie Pierson says:

    Oh Gerald, such a great tribute to Jackie and to Roy. I remember thinking they were just magic – everything about them. As if they were from a different – and far more superior – planet with champagne bubbles (to quote you!) instead of oxygen. And how kind and funny and loving they were. Now I need to listen to “In a Mountain Greenery” and say a little prayer for them. How lucky I was to have known them. XXOO

  • Alicia Atencio says:

    Gerald, your eloquent reverie’s of bygone times always prompts me to muse how it must have been so magical for you to have lived thru those times! I was touched by your lovely words for Jackie & Roy. I had not heard their music so I gave them a listen. What a duo! My oh my. The way they sang in tandem! Their rich and lush sound! You were truly fortunate to have known and loved them.

  • Alicia Atencio says:

    Gerald, your eloquent reverie’s of bygone times always prompts me to muse on how it must have been so magical for you to have lived thru those times! I was touched by your lovely words for Jackie & Roy. I had not heard their music so I gave them a listen. What a duo! My oh my. The way they sang in tandem! Their rich and lush sound! You were truly fortunate to have known and loved them.

    • Gerry says:

      Alicia, you dear and generous woman, so glad you listened to Jackie and Roy. Try to access the New York Time obituary of Jackie Cain to get a fuller view of her career.

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