Summer 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 2013 |

This Is*

On February 19, 2007, jazz pianist Freddie Redd performed The Connection soundtrack in its entirety at New York's Merkin Concert Hall. He wrote the music in 1959 as the score for Jack Gelber's play of that name, a story about heroin-addicted jazz musicians. Redd not only composed the music, which Blue Note released, he acted in the original stage production in New York, London, and Paris, as well as the 1961 film adaptation. He was seventy-eight years old now, and he hadn't publicly performed the whole soundtrack in at least a decade. When The Connection debuted at Manhattan's Living Theatre on July 15, 1959, it sent what some described as shock waves through the American theater community. First, there's the subject matter. The play is about junkies waiting around for their "connection" to deliver drugs. The dealer's name is Cowboy, and like most dealers, he keeps his customers waiting. The entire play takes place in a single, dingy Manhattan apartment, while eight addicts pace

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Aaron Gilbreath has written essays for Paris Review, Tin House, Black Warrior Review, Hotel Amerika, Cincinnati Review, and Gettysburg Review, and written about music for the New York Times, Oxford American, Brick, Threepenny Review, Conjunctions, and Yeti. Currently at work on a book of travel writing set in Canada, he works for a tea company in Portland, Oregon, and blogs about music, food, and miscellany at aarongilbreath.wordpress.com.

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