Be Brief

Al Hirt

Several years ago my friend and I were walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans and I noticed a very simple sign hanging in the doorway of a fairly small club.  It read, “Tonight, Al Hirt.”  Actually I thought Al had died but sure enough, we went inside and there was Al with a quintet of hard working guys.  Al had been one of the greatest technicians on the trumpet in the whole world and now he was old and he was also sick but he was still giving it a go.  In one number he went into this tremendous run on the trumpet and he failed to make the last two notes.  He just called out…”Oh sh- -! Try it again guys and he tried it again and he was right on target.  We bought a poster and he autographed it for us and we had a nice visit and somehow we started talking about having a #1 song.  He told us that in his whole career he had just one #1 song on the hit parade.  Al had recorded one fantastic album after another but he explained, “I had just one hit that made it to #1 and that was fluke.  We recorded a song we called Hindustan.  It ran something like 2:20 minutes.  It might have been the shortest song in captivity and all of the Disc Jockeys fell in love with it because when they were making out their programs they always needed something short to fill in space.  The song itself had nothing to do with anything, it was the length of the song that made it a hit.  The secret to success is often Cut! Cut! Cut!  I just wonder what I might do with this article if I really tried.

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