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"The Tech Rep" by James Michener; Continued:

"In the music he liked, Holt had excellent taste-no sobbing violins, no cheap echo chambers. He went for the hard, clean sound of American jazz and brought to the attention of his friends odd bits of music they might otherwise have missed. The Empire City Six, who played a set of variations on THE BATTLE HYM OF THE REPUBLIC, stepping up the pitch six different times until the room was shaking with Glorious noise. He also introduced us to a strange piece of music which I never heard of but which apparently meant a great deal to him. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington had collaborated on it, whiskey Voice and heartbreak piano. DUKES PLACE, it was called, and once Holt confided, IT REMINDS ME OF ALL THE LONELY CAFES I'VE EATIN IN. It haunts me even now when Harvey plays it, an irritating, inconsequential piece of music that ought not to have the power of evocation it has: down at Duke's Place where where we spent those aching, empty hours of our youth.

I can recall a dozen times in recent years when I Have been visiting far corners of the earth, without comforts or good food or clean music. It was sweaty, lonely work, and even the fact that I was picking up a good commission made it no easier to take. Then I would hit the town where Harvey Holt was working and he would take me to his immaculate quarters, with the two Toothbrush's hung just so, the latest copy of Time, some cold Tuborg in the refrigerator and a local girl preparing meat and potatoes in the kitchen, and I would sink into a rattan chair and Harvey would thread onto his machine one of his favorite tapes, but he would have picked it so that selections I liked were included, and I would sit back and hear the sounds I had Once loved so well: BOGGIE WOGGIE, with Artie Shaw; or TWO O'CLOCK JUMP, with Harry James; or MUSKRAT RAMBLE, with the Dukes of Dixieland. I sometimes had the feeling that it was Harvey Holt's well-disciplined world that saved my sanity."

To be continued:



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