Lorraine Gordon had to be one of the hippest people on the planet.
As a teenager growing up in Newark NJ she and her brother Phillip Stein (he painted the mural that’s on the back wall of the Vanguard) were members of the Hot Club of Newark.
She was married to Alfred Lion the founder of one of the most storied labels in jazz Blue Note Records.
And most famously she was married to the impresario Max Gordon the founder-owner of the Village Vanguard.
When Max passed she took over the reins. That was in 1989.
Right around that time I received a call from Lorraine who I had been dealing with for her Jazz Art record label.
During the lean years at The Vanguard Lorraine worked at the Brooklyn Museum gift shop as a buyer.
I was in Park Slope so it wasn’t far to go to pick up records.
I was helping her to promote and distribute through my Daybreak Express Mail order company.
There were two titles on Jazz Art; Jabbo Smith and Big Chief Russell Moore.
Lorraine had befriended Jabbo over the years and now he needed help after suffering serious burns as the result of a kitchen grease fire.
Evidently he was making breakfast balls-assed naked and got burnt up pretty bad.
He was in St. Vincent’s Hospital with no medical insurance and needed to raise money fast so could I help her sell all the inventory for Jabbo’s two Jazz Art LPs.
There were like a thousand LPs.
I put on my thinking cap who can I call?
That’s when I contacted George Buck down in New Orleans owner of GHB, Jazzologyy, Audiophile and a number of other labels.
Not only did he purchase all the Jabbo inventory he bought the masters too.
You can find them here.
Lorraine was so grateful she told me you come to the club anytime you like except when Wynton’s playing.
R.I.P. Lorraine Gordon.