By Barry Spunt (auth.)
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Additional resources for Heroin and Music in New York City
First of all, you have to be healthy to play well. And you’re not very healthy using drugs. Nothing is working. Your cells are deadened. It’s the greatest cure for the common cold there is. I didn’t have a cold for twenty years. 158 Dexter Gordon had similar feelings. On the one hand, he thought that heroin can arouse you; it makes you concentrate very well. . There’s a certain concentrative power with smack because just of the existence of an addict is—you gotta use your mind so much. It really activates the mind to secure money and to find connections and sources of supply and so forth and play your games, do your little movements and all that shit.
Thin. Mouth sagging at both corners. 50 Jazz vocalist Anita O’Day—herself a user51—recollected: I wasn’t only in awe of her singing. I was in awe of her habit. She didn’t cook up with a spoon. Man, she used a small tuna fish can and shot 10 cc into her feet. Later, I understand she ran out of veins all over her body. So she used those on each side of her vagina. 52 And when Holiday couldn’t get the heroin she needed, she would just sit quietly in a tub of the hottest water she could draw and sit and sit, even if it took her all day and all night and all next day.
12 Another popular New York City–based musician from the early years of jazz Cab Calloway, the orchestra leader, had a very different view of marijuana. On the one hand, Calloway understood why smoking marijuana was so prevalent among jazz musicians. ”14 But Calloway believed that marijuana created bad publicity for jazz musicians: There are still numberless Americans who equate music with marijuana, who feel that every jazzman is automatically a reefer smoker. This kind of publicity has been very harmful to us musicians.
Heroin and Music in New York City by Barry Spunt (auth.)