There's a great story by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post on bassist Butch Warren. Like so many great veterans of jazz, Warren has had his share of hard times, as Fisher reveals. The bassist is currently in a psychiatric facility in his hometown of Washington, D.C. An inquisitive worker at the facility discovered who he was when looking online one day.
An excerpt from the article:
" [...] like many players of that era, Warren fell into drinking and drugging. 'Heroin,' he says. 'I always liked that heroin better than cocaine. I joke about it, but that heroin is ridiculous. There's nothing funny about it.'
Then, in 1963, one of Warren's best friends, pianist Sonny Clark, died of a heroin overdose. Warren told a French magazine that 'after Sonny died, I didn't feel like working anymore.' Later that year, when President Kennedy was assassinated, Warren felt overwhelmed. The magazines would say that he had simply disappeared. But he actually went home, where he felt safer."
You may remember Warren's work with Clark. This association found him along side Jackie McLean as well as Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, Stanley Turrentine, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock. Throughout his career, Warren was often one of a pair -- half of a match made in heaven with drummer Billy Higgins. Their interplay wasn't just time-keeping; it was a dance, a groove. As mentioned in the Post, Warren's greatest enjoyment still comes from playing the bass, and that's clear enough on record. (The first album I remembering hearing him on was Dexter Gordon's Go, where he sounded especially sprightly on "Cheese Cake.")
Read the whole story here.