© Copyright 2010 Anne Sete
I grew up in Catonsville, Maryland. I spent summers with my parents and my brother Jay at my Grandmother and Grandfather’s farm in Chestertown, Maryland.
One day I stopped at his door and said hello, introduced myself, and he invited me in. Thus began a lifetime friendship and romance that continues to this day, even though he has died many years ago. I still feel his presence of love and light surrounding me.
Max Weiss has the idea of having Vince and Bola do a show together. Vince and Bola played several private parties together, then began performing on weekends after Bola’s 9 pm shift at the Sheraton Palace was over. Eventually Vince and Bola became so popular that Bola gave notice to the Sheraton, and moved to Sausalito. I believe they played several shows at the Trois Coleurs hotel in Berkeley. I will check my reviews from that time correct that information if it is incorrect.
I remember Vince and Bola playing at the El Matador. The club would hold 300 to 400 people. The sign on the club marquee would only say “VINCE AND BOLA”. People would be lined up for blocks waiting to get in.
Vince and Bola would play three 45-minute shows together: 9 to 10 pm, 11 pm to 12 pm, and a short show from 1 until about 1:30 pm. In between shows Bola would go over to the other clubs and watch Miles, or Wes, or whoever was in town, play. The different jazz clubs would stagger their starting times so the audiences could hear at least some of the other clubs' shows. Whenever Bola or other musicians would go to visit another club, the music would liven up. Often musicians from various clubs would visit and sit in and play with other musicians. It was an exciting time!
Bola would come from behind the curtain carrying his guitar in one hand and his footstool in the other. Bola would sit on the stool, with his left fool on his footstool. He would pretend to be tuning up his guitar until the crowd quieted down, so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Then Bola would play two classical guitar pieces. Next would come a Brazilian piece, samba in nature and spirit, perhaps "Girl From Ipananema", which the crowd loved.
The bassist and the drummer also took turns soloing, and both Vince and Bola would support them. Everybody looked and sounded good.
After the last show, after the night club closed, Bola and I would go across the street to Mike’s Pool Hall. We had a standing order: pastrami and salami sandwiches, on rye, with cole slaw and hot mustard to go, with a half a pickle on top with a toothpick holding the whole thing together. The sandwiches were about four inches thick. They were wrapped in waxed paper, then the whole thing wrapped in brown butcher wrap paper. We would go back to Bola’s apartment in Sausalito, eat half a sandwich, then go to sleep. By now the sun was coming up in Sausalito.