Lonnie Johnson (with Elmer Snowden) – “Memories of You”
One afternoon in May of 2000, Grammy-winning author and record producer Chris Albertson welcomed me into his Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan. Then it was story time.
Chris spoke about discovering jazz as a teenager in Copenhagen in the 1940s and how he bluffed his way into a job for Danish radio. He talked about emigrating to the US in the mid-50s, his days as a DJ in Philadelphia and subsequent producing gig at Riverside Records. At the time of my visit, Chris was revising Bessie, his standard work on blues singer Bessie Smith, so there were plenty of Bessie stories, too. Indeed, it was Bessie’s voice that had originally called him to jazz and provided the spark for a life devoted to music.
But my real reason for wanting to meet Chris Albertson was because his name appears on the sleeve of one of my all-time favorite blues records: Blues & Ballads by Lonnie Johnson with Elmer Snowden.