Roots (where there's always something interesting going on) is at 276 Westminster Street in downtown Providence and if you'd like further information about the summer youth action workshops, give the outfit a call at 401.272.7422.


MEMORIES OF SHORTY

Thanks to everyone who showed up at the Sidebar Bistro last Saturday night for the Kim Marcoux/Gray Sargent/Rudy Cheeks performance. It was just wonderful for Jorge (Rudy Cheeks) to play music in this near-perfect jazz venue (intimate, great sound, good food, etc.). One of the tunes the group did was "Knock Me a Kiss," a big hit for Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five back in 1946 that was written by the late Shorty Jackson.

Singing this tune brought back memories of Shorty, who began his career right around the turn of the last century (he died in 1991, near the age of 100). Shorty was a mortician in Harlem by day and a stride piano player by night. He had a comedy act with Stepin Fetchit (Lincoln Perry), did a tour on piano with Louis Armstrong, and briefly roomed with Charlie Parker.

Shorty was a link to a music and entertainment world that no longer exists and it was a thrill to have known him. Those of a certain age may have seen Shorty Jackson play at the old Allary's on North Main Street in Providence. Perhaps you were even there the night Buddy Cianci sat in on drums, with the equally legendary Tom Brown on guitar. Now that was something.


RIP, STEVE "ROCKY" ROTHWELL

Flags are at half staff at Casa Diablo as we remember Steve "Rocky" Rothwell, who passed away last week. Rocky was the founder of the Original Rhode Island Rock 'n' Roll Collectors Convention. After 30 years, the Convention continues (now known as the Original Southern New England Rock 'n' Roll Collectors Convention) under the aegis of Dr. Oldie.

For the uninitiated, the Collectors Convention provides a venue for records, CDs and other rock 'n' roll-related memorabilia to be bought, sold, or traded. The most recent meeting was held on February 26 at the Convention's new home, the Ramada Inn at 940 Fall River Ave in Seekonk, where there's plenty of free parking. If you're a collector or lover of rock 'n' roll, you oughta check this out. And remember Rocky, the guy who thought it all up.


KUDOS AND CONGRATS . . .

...to Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee for president, for his skilled handling of the immigration issue. Mittens recently appeared on CBS's Face the Nation and was asked about President Obama's executive order stopping the deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the country as children and have graduated from high school or served in the military.

Basically, Mitt didn't answer the question. We have no idea if he would rescind the order, embrace the order, or what. This, and his penchant for saying "no" to everything the Democrats might propose, regardless of its merit, is just the sort of leadership we need these days. Let's just make sure that, if he wins in November, Mitt has securely tied the country to the roof of his car before driving off.

Send Italian ices and Pulitzer-grade tips to p&j@phx.com.

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