On behalf of the KSC Music Department, Artist in Residence Don Baldini has accepted the gift of an upright bass from the estate of Jerry Levine, who passed away earlier this year. Levine and his wife met Prof. Baldini a few years ago when Prof. Baldini was playing bass in a regular concert series at an inn in W. Dover, Vt. As a result of that acquaintance, the Levines also became regular attendees at KSC Jazz Band concerts.
Obviously, Jerry Levine was a music lover. He, like Prof. Baldini, was also a bass player. As a teenager in the 1930s, he played in local dance bands, earning enough to help support his family during the Depression. Family members say that he performed with such famous bandleaders of the era as Louis Prima and that the teen had to be snuck into nightclubs and burlesque joints so that he could play his Kay bass with the house band.
So when it became time to pass his beloved instrument on to those musicians who would follow in his footsteps, the Levine family decided that Don Baldini and the KSC music program would be the perfect recipients.
Prof. Baldini was honored. “These Kay basses were very popular in the ’30s and ’40s,” he said. “A lot of the dance-band guys played them. It was very thoughtful of the Levines to give it to us. They could have sold it in a minute—it’s a very nice instrument, and it’s in excellent condition.” The Music Department is having a small plaque made that can be attached to the back of the bass.
May this fine instrument continue its long and vibrant life, encouraging young musicians to perfect their craft, and establishing yet one more connection our people and programs have to the larger community and its wonderful culture and heritage.