Jazz Artifacts -- Feb. 20, 2005

A weekly feature on This Week.

Voices/Images

We begin The List with the jazz auction of all time. The gavel comes down in Manhattan today, and bids could hit a million dollars for Charlie Parker's sax, Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet or Benny Goodman's clarinet. Musician Branford Marsalis is our voice.

Branford Marsalis, jazz musician: "What gives them the value is the fact that they were owned by some of the greatest musicians in the history of this country. Without John Coltrane being associated with that, or Charlie Parker being associated with it, that Dizzy Gillespie or Jerry Mulligan used it, it's just a horn. That's all it is. It's the musicians who played them that make them unique and valuable and important to American culture. I think the fact that Benny Goodman played that clarinet is worth its weight in gold.

"This is Louis Armstrong's handwritten letter with envelope to his manager. … I love Armstrong. … Greatest musician in history of music.

"This is one of Dizzy Gillespie's trumpets. Everybody knows Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet because the bell was bent upward. According to legend, he accidentally sat on the trumpet during a break and bent the bell up backwards, and he actually like it, so he started requesting all his horns be made that way.

"The master's horn: This is a tenor saxophone, a Selmer Mark 6, owned by John Coltrane. This is something I would love to own.

"The item that moves me the most is the [sheet] music to 'A Love Supreme' by John Coltrane. This is just a jewel to me. Although for other people the jewel would be something more visceral like an instrument or a coat. But for a musician, I think this is the one."

Funnies

The Late Show with David Letterman:

Letterman: George Bush is requesting an additional $82 billion for war funding -- $82 billion for war funding. Of course that would include Afghanistan, Iraq and a country to be named later.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Stewart: Back in the U.S., President Bush asked Congress for an additional $82 billion in emergency spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which, if granted would put the cost of the Iraq war at nearly $200 billion -- which I believe is around exactly what they told us the war would cost when they started the war two years ago.

Andrew Natsios, administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development [on tape before Iraq invasion]: The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further on funding for this.

Ted Koppel, ABC News [on tape]: And when you talk about the 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion.

Natsios [on tape]: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers' contribution, I do. This is it for the U.S.

Stewart: Well, to be fair, in 2003 dollars if you adjust for inflation… [tapping on calculator] …it's only $198 billion dollars off.

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