"The Tech Rep" By James Michener Continued
"What Holt liked was American popular music from the 1930s and 40s, years when the great bands crisscrossed the nation, playing in sumptuous ballrooms or over the midnight radio. By dint of careful search, he had assembled the finest records of that period and had constructed from the various tapes which evoked the classic period of American jazz. But after a while I noticed that whatever the program, he invariably slipped in three instrumental numbers which apparently summarized the epoch for him: A STRING OF PEARLS, with Glenn Miller; IN THE MOOD, with Tex Beneke leading the old Miller band; and TAKE THE A TRAIN, with Duke Ellington. Once in Burma, I tried to quiz him on these pieces, but he responded only to my question about A STRING OF PEARLS. PROBABLY THE BEST PIECE OF MUSIC EVER WRITTEN was all he said, but from other hints he dropped, I gathered he liked these numbers because they recalled the days when he was a youth just beginning to date girls.
IT WAS GREAT, he told me once. YOU'VE GOT A FORD. A COUPLE OF COUPLES. YOU DRIVE FIFTY MILES TO CHEYENNE TO HEAR GLENN MILLER AT THE CRYSTAL BALLROOM OR EVEN A HUNDRED AND TWENTY TO DENVER TO HEAR CHARLIE BARNETT AT ELITCH'S GARDENS. THE LIGHTS WOULD...His voice trailed off. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE IT NOW. NOTHING."
To be continued:
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