Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Jazz Legend Celebrates The Big 88

Bob Dorough is likely the most famous jazz musician you never heard of but have heard if you or your kids grooved to School House Rock, the ABC's Saturday morning teevee show. Bob, you see, penned the lyrics and sang "My Hero, Zero," "Three Is a Magic Number," and many of the show's other educational hit songs.

If you've actually heard of Dorough, it is probably through his big hit, "Devil May Care," or if you're a Miles Davis fan, his "Blue Christmas," which the legendary trumpeter commissioned him to write for a Christmas album. Dorough has the honor of being the only male vocalist on a Miles album.

Anyhow, Yours Truly, the DF&C and 120 or so of Bob's closest friends joined him Saturday evening past at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his 88th birthday and raise money to complete Devil May Care, a documentary about Bob's life.

To say that Bob sounds better than ever in his eighth decade is not hyperbole. His effortless cool jazz and bebop singing and piano playing, as well as his trademark vocalese stylings, remain fresh. The high spots of the evening were "Devil May Care" and a group singalong on his "Down At the Waterhole." Oh, and a rendition of 'Happy Birthday To Me."

Bob and I hugged as we headed for the door after a memorable evening.

"Let's do this again on your 99th birthday," I suggested.

Bob winked and nodded.

"Deal," he said.

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