Album Insert for: "Father G and Dr. B"
"Father G" is not a Catholic priest as the name might imply. He has been my father-in-law for over 20 years and I doubt that there is anyone who knows him better than I do. There is certainly no one who could possibly hold him in higher esteem, not only because of his musical genius, but also because of his spiritual essence coupled with an intense desire to improve the lives of everyone that he has contact with.
To my ear Max Geldray is arguably the "world's greatest jazz harmonica player." Who more than someone who has played a command performance for England's "royal family" or for 30 years was a renowned jazz harmonica player in Europe, or for 10 years was one of five principal individuals in England's most popular weekly "Goon Show" deserves the title of "world's greatest jazz harmonica player?" Max Geldray, a native son of Holland, is my candidate for that title Many others share this belief including those fans who have established a web site on the internet in his behalf outlining his biography.
Not only is he deserving of the "greatest" title, he was also the very first jazz harmonica player in Europe making his initial professional radio debut in 1934 from Helversum, Holland A British promoter looking for new talent hired him to tour England in 1936 which eventually lead to his stardom in Europe. He eventually became a household name in England as he performed at Windsor Castle for King George V, and his family, celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 16th birthday party.
After World War II which had interrupted his career, almost resulting in his death from a German artillery shell, he renewed his long association with the BBC in 1945 which has continued to the present Along with Peter Sellers and others, he became famous as one of the five principals on the "Goon Show" which ran for 10 years ending in 1960. It was a weekly comic variety show that showcased his harmonica playing along with his comedic talent and was broadcast throughout the United Kingdom and other commonwealth countries around the world.
Fame and stardom do not necessarily result in personal fulfillment and in 1962 Max immigrated to the United States in search of greater purpose and meaning to his life. He eventually found it but was led in an entirely different direction than he would have ever anticipated. He soon permanently located in Southern California.
In his late 60s, when most have already retired, he began a new journey that would positively impact many lives in need of help. While working as a volunteer at the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Hospital in Rancho Mirage, California, it was recognized that he was unusually gifted in his ability to relate to patients. Because of this it was suggested that he once again go back to college and take some classes in chemical dependency. Less than two years later he graduated with his necessary degree and began performing the duties of a counselor tech at the Betty Ford Center. He worked there for 13 years, longer than any other counselor to that time until at the age of 80 the work became too tiring. He had become one of the most beloved and revered persons on staff. He has aided numerous people, many of them famous, in their achieving sobriety. This may be the greatest part of his legacy.
His history is well documented in his published biography entitled, "Goon With the Wind." The book title is a play on words dating back to the extraordinarily successful "Goon Show" where he played his "wind" instrument.
Holland, his country of birth, has much to be proud of through the success of one of its native sons. America, his country of choice, has become the ultimate beneficiary of his incredible gifts.
I first met Max in 1979 at one of our weekly jam sessions in Palm Springs, California. I would frequently attend those sessions because of my own love to play music. There would be great audience variation from one week to another. Some days the audience would be with us virtually every minute being totally "tuned in" to what was being played. At the other extreme, people would be drinking and talking and caring less about the music. It was the latter kind of crowd the day I met Max. I had been there playing off and on for about two hours and was in the process of packing up my saxophone when Max walked in with one of the better jazz pianists, Joe Felix. I hadn't been having much fun that day because of the "hard" crowd so I was leaving early. Even though I was already walking out the door at the time I thought I would go back thinking that with Joe Felix now there, along with this other person, maybe things would pick up. A few minutes later Max and Joe got onto the stage and Max pulls a harmonica from his pocket and begins playing an introduction without accompaniment. Suddenly this unruly crowd becomes so quiet that you could hear a pin drop We were all so totally mesmerized by his playing that we all "tuned in." I had never seen this happen before; however, I have seen it multiple times since whenever he plays. It truly is an example of musical genius at work.
Max and I soon became friends, which eventually led to my marrying his daughter. Not only did I get a wife to whom I have been married for over 20 years, but the world's greatest father-in-law.
"Dr. B." is a medical doctor, Board certified in both the fields of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. He is the Chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, Utah. After completing his residency training affiliated with the University of Utah he spent two years practicing medicine in the Air Force. From there he relocated to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City for eight years. A strong need for a change resulted in a move to California where he became affiliated with Palm Springs Medical Center for 10 years eventually becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors. It was during this time when he met Max. Financial difficulties forced Palm Springs Medical Center into bankruptcy, as so many other medical organizations have had to experience because of falling Medicare reimbursement. This led to an offer from Sevier Valley Hospital to oversee its Department of Diagnostic Imaging.
While living in Richfield he became aware of the severe damage done to those individuals who are living in an environment of domestic violence. He was provided an opportunity to become an active participant in dealing with this problem when he was asked to become a member of the Board of Directors of New Horizons Crisis Center which is a woman's shelter that aids victims of domestic violence along with their children. It also provides counseling for abused women and their children, conducts parenting classes for abusive parents and gives children’s classes for abused children. It services five counties within south central Utah. He became Chairman of the Board of Directors two years ago and continues his activity in this capacity.
While attending college and medical residency he played semi-professionally earning enough money to help pay for his education and medical training. While living in Palm Springs, California, he was a card-carrying member of the Musician's Union supplementing his income occasionally playing with both big bands as well as small jazz groups.
Dr. B developed this current CD by obtaining Max Geldray's previously-recorded album entitled, "World's Greatest Jazz Harmonica Player" and then dubbing himself onto each of the songs while playing his alto sax. This was a significant challenge requiring him to superimpose a counter melody line that was not meant to be there while attempting to make it sound as if it was part of the original recording. This, of course, was done extemporaneously (ad lib) so that he never knew what he would play prior to his playing it. This is one of the great ingredients of the jazz format.
Because this album represents a tribute to Max Geldray, each song is first presented as it originally was recorded without any alteration. The same song then follows with alto sax added which gives the listener a chance to better critique the result.
This album not only represents a musical legacy to Max Geldray, but is also being issued to provide a potential source of revenue for New Horizons Crisis Center, which is financed by government and private grants as well as individual donations. This album is, therefore, being presented to you as a gift. The $15.00 equivalent worth of this album has been donated to New Horizons Crisis Center in your name for the purpose of raising funds to help sustain its mission. Anyone who would like to present this CD to another individual as a gift, can obtain one or more directly from New Horizons Crisis Center by making a gift donation of $15.00 or more per album.
Domestic Violence has been recognized as the most serious threat to our cultural existence even exceeding alcoholism and chemical dependency. All of the money collected from the distribution of this album goes directly to New Horizons Crisis Center to help those victims of domestic violence. Your donation is tremendously appreciated and is fully tax deductible.
Chairman, Board of Directors, NHCC Roger D. Blomquist, M.D.