Interview with Lynn Seaton
(by Frank Tafuri)

Tafuri: I've known you for a long time now —

Seaton: —twenty years, to be exact —

Tafuri: —(which is hard to believe) and one of the things that's really interesting to me is how you got into the music ... because you really didn't start of in jazz —though I don't know how many people really start off in jazz.

Seaton: I started playing classical guitar, then classical bass.

Tafuri: How young were you?

Seaton: I was seven when I started playing classical guitar, then I was nine when I started playing classical bass in the public schools program.

Tafuri: What got you started playing classical guitar?

Seaton: Truthfully, I don't remember.  I wanted to play guitar, and my folks hooked me up with a nice teacher —a couple of different teachers throughout my guitar-playing life.  I've always enjoyed music.

Tafuri: And this was in Oklahoma?

Seaton: Yes, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tafuri: When did you start getting the idea that you wanted to playing something other than classical guitar?

Seaton: I've always enjoyed the sound of the bass on records and in any kind of music —classical, pop music.  I'm sure Paul McCartney had something to do with it, no doubt.  There was a day that, if you were interested in being in the public schools music program, you could show up at the band room in the fifth grade.  That day I remember pretty well.  Mr Roger Finn was the local band director, and we would match you up with the instrument of your choice.  Actually, at the time, I was pretty small for my age; they were kind of encouraging me to start on cello, as opposed to the bass. I was fairly adamant about my desire to play the bass.

Tafuri: [Laughs.]

Seaton: So, they found a half-size bass for me, and my father built two little foot stools —one for each foot —for me to stand on.  They also had a stand that held the instrument, so I didn't actually have to support it at that point in time.

Tafuri: But though you had a half-sizer, it was still bigger than you.

Seaton: Oh yeah!

Tafuri: Were your parents musical?

Seaton: My parents loved music.  They weren't music although, when I first started playing guitar, my father went to lessons with me and also had a guitar.  And we studied for a while together.  So, that was very cool.

Tafuri: But was there music playing in the house?

Seaton: Constantly.  My father wired the entire house with speakers.  Later, I had my own stereo as well, but throughout my life there were speakers in every room that were connected to the main stereo in the living room.  So, if you so desired, you could listen to music in any room.

Tafuri: But you had the ability to turn it off, too?

Seaton: Oh, yeah, there was a switch in every room and volume control.  It was great.

Tafuri: That's pretty wild.

Seaton: My parents listened to a huge assortment of music from big band to Mitch Miller to classical music to Dixieland. Bongo Fury ... you remember those records?

Tafuri: Yeah, like Ping-Pong Percussion records.

Seaton: I don't remember that one, but Les Baxter...

Tafuri: But there was always somebody putting a record on?  Or you had stacks of LPs?

Seaton: I don't remember playing stacks too much, but there were always records and, later, tapes going on.  Definitely.  My sister always played, she still plays flute.  She plays in several community bands around New York, but she started with piano lessons around the time I started on guitar.  But then she started playing flute also about the time I started playing guitar, also about the time I started playing guitar, and then, a couple years later when I was playing bass, she was playing flute and has continued to do so to this day.

Tafuri: So you were playing orchestral music in grade school and high school?

Seaton: All though high school.  Once I started playing the bass —somewhere around junior high school —I got an electric bass, so I was playing in garage bands.  My parents literally had a guitar that literally we jammed in.  There were a few other kids in the neighborhood whose parents were quite tolerant of our endeavors, so we would go jam in the garage.  We were learning pop tunes of the day.

Tafuri: So how old were you?  When did you start doing this?

Seaton: It probably started right away.  I know that even when I was playing guitar, I did it some, so I was probably eight or nine.

Tafuri: So what of stuff were you playing?

Seaton: Whatever was popular on the radio: "Incense and Peppermint," "Love Potion Number Nine," "Gloria"...

Tafuri: And did you have gigs?

Seaton: Actually, it wasn't until the seventh grade that I started gigging.  In the seventh grade I actually did have a band —it wasn't my band —but we had a collective band, because then I was in stage band, and so we decided we wanted to have a band with horns.  Chicago was quite popular.  Blood Sweat and Tears.  So, we started copying those things, and we had a band called "Pain in the Brass."

Tafuri: I'm sure the parents loved that!

Seaton: Oh, yeah, but we played some gigs.  There was a dance school near my house called "The Pink Barn," and we played some there, we played some at school.  (I actually still have tapes of this.)

Tafuri: The Lynn Seaton Basement Tapes.

Seaton: And a strange thing is that in the last two weeks I have heard from two of those people, because my 25th anniversary reunion is coming up for my high school, so I heard from (actually) three of those people in that band.  Three of them!  Unbelievable.

Tafuri: Do I see a reunion in the works here?

Seaton: No. I mean, the drummer still plays a little bit.  He actually makes stereo speakers for a living.

Tafuri: Did you have an idea at that point in time that you wanted to be a musician, or what that just something you did for fun, and you had aspirations to do something else?

Seaton: I think every kid dreams of it as some point, you know?  But I didn't really think it would become a reality.  I always did other things as well.  But it wasn't until I was actually in college, pursuing other interests, that I realized "Wait a minute, every spare moment I have I'm trying to play music, who am I foolin'?"

Tafuri: So what was your major in college?

Seaton: I thought I was gonna be a dentist.  [Chuckles.]  That was my declared major when I entered school.

Tafuri: So you were "pre-dental"?

Seaton: But backtracking a little bit...  The stage band things I was in in high school and junior high school were probably my first exposure to tying to playing something with a walking bass line.  At the same time, some of the bands I played in were starting to play some blues.  And there were several bands I jammed with —and I did a few other gigs like sock hops and school dances —but, when I was in college, I joined a blues-based rock band called Xebek.  We still did a lot of cover tunes, but we played —at least once or twice per set —some really heavy blues.  You know, Chicago kind of electric blues, all of Johnny Winter or Muddy Waters.  I always dug that.  And even in high school it amazed me that someone could take a solo, like make music.  It was like "Man, how do you do that?"  It just fascinated me.  Suddenly, there's improvisation going on.

Tafuri: It resonated (no pun intended) with you on a couple of different levels.

Seaton: Most definitely.  So that improvisation thing really got me going.  And one of the earliest records that I recall that kind of combined the two things for me —horns plus improvisation —was a record given to me by trombone player named Bob Coverage.  He gave me this record of B B King Live at the Cook County Jail

Tafuri: Oh, that's a great record! —

Seaton: An unbelievable record!  And I thought "Oh, horns!  Blues!  Mmm, together" and it started clicking like that.  But, in high school, I did start hearing some jazz stuff.  One of the first records I ever got was Bitches Brew.

Tafuri: Wow!

Seaton: And I also remember getting Cannonball Adderley Takes Charge about that time and also Live at the Fillmore with Miles.  So, I came into it that way with a kind of broad spectrum of things.  So, I was listening to some pretty wild and crazy stuff while I was listening to the popular rock stuff of the day.

Tafuri: But that's a good bridge to start on something like Bitches Brew, because if your head was into the pop music of the day, the rock of the day, and you were beginning to feel improvisational urges and blues resonances, that would probably be a perfect transition.

Seaton: Another thing that happened that really opened my ears was I attended a Stan Kenton summer jazz workshop between my junior and senior high school years.  Oddly enough, Dan Hurley, whom I'm teaching with at North Texas, was one of the teachers.  [Cackles.]  I've come full circle.

Tafuri: What kind of jazz scene was there in Tulsa and in Norman, where you went to college?

Seaton: In Tulsa, there were several decent players, also in Oklahoma City.  There were guys who had been our with various sundry territory bands or big bands that were still there.  I didn't go out to clubs, obviously, because I was way too young —I was much underage. But there were a few jazz clubs in Tulsa —one with a house gig I remember called "The Rubiyyat" —and my bass teacher was also a jazz player.  He was in the Symphony, but he also did a lot of jazz stuff, too.  He gave me some exposure to that.  My parent took me to a lot of concerts.  They had this "Starlight Series" of concerts they would hold, and they always had jazz concerts, so I heard several of the local guys there.

Tafuri: So just further feeding the hunger you had?

Seaton: Back in Norman, I was playing with the Xebek band and listening more and more to jazz (and that sort of stuff).  Pat Metheny was hitting it pretty big at the time, and Mahavishnu had been big for some time, so I was hearing a lot of that stuff.  Also, at the same time, I caught Clark Terry on a few instances and that really turned my head around.

Tafuri: I was gonna say, you're so hard into reeeeally hard swinging and big bass sound —and, of course, there's another side of you, too —but you're so into swing, I'm still waiting to hear what got you into that.  So, Clark Terry was one of those people, too.

Seaton: Definitely.  I quit the rock band and had saved a bit of money and decided I wanted to start learning how to play jazz.  So I holed up in a friend's garage-apartment.  (Actually, I was in the garage, and he was in the apartment above the garage.)   I had no rent.  I spent a few months there practicing, because I hadn't been playing much upright [bass] for a year. I'd been playing upright all my life, practically, and I didn't hardly play it for the year I was playing with that band.

Tafuri: You were playing electric [bass]?

Seaton: Yeah.  So I realized that was where my heart really was.  So I started sheddin', I started jammin' —

Tafuri: —literally woodshedding —

Seaton: —yes, literally woodshedding —that was the first of two [such] episodes in my life that I just kind of holed up and practiced.

Tafuri: You were still in school at the time?

Seaton: No, I had left school.  No.  [Chuckles.]  I had entered the School of Hard Knocks/Road Rat.  [More chuckles.]

Tafuri: Whose school colors are black and blue, right?

Seaton: [Laughs.]  So I hooked up with some other fellows —all of whom are still playing essentially.  All of them are still professional musicians: Steven Fulton, Morris Nelms and Richard Thompson.  Some other guys around my own age that really wanted to learn to play straight ahead [jazz].  We started listening a lot, and I lived with the piano player for quite some time.  We had kind of any open policy in the house: if you wanted to play, practice or listen to music, that took precedence over everything else.

Tafuri: Cool.

Seaton: So we tried and did succeed at getting some gigs and tried to make a meager living playing the music, but we really got together a lot and started playing tunes.

Tafuri: You were still in Norman?

Seaton: Yes, Norman, Oklahoma.  But we'd play around Norman and play in Oklahoma City some and also started getting some work with some other folks trying to learn tunes.  That was the main thing.  That's when my heavy listening, heavy recording acquisition began.  I would just frequent used record stores like crazy.  I don't know if I have as many birdies as you do, but I got a lot.

Tafuri: [Laughs.]  So who were some of the people you couldn't get enough of?

Seaton: At that time, Clark was a huge influence; the Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown.  So, Ray Brown, Ray Brown, Ray Brown.  I discovered Major Holley around that time, and Slam Stewart; also at that time I first heard Rufus Reid with Dexter Gordon...

Tafuri: Oh yeah.

Seaton: I've been friends with him ever since.

Tafuri: Oh, you heard him live, you mean?

Seaton: Several times.

Tafuri: In Oklahoma?

Seaton: There was this club in Oklahoma called Bianca's that used to bring in national acts.  Not often, but probably at least once or twice a month.  Phil Woods' band came through there, Woody Shaw with Stafford James on bass, Phil Woods with Steve Gilmore; David Friesen came through.  This club had a WATS line for their customers.  They let us use this WATS line, so all of those bass players, Rufus and Steve Gilmore in particular, were extremely nice to me. I hung out with them a lot when they were in town and pestered them relentlessly with questions —David Friesen also —just relentless.  And with this WATS line, we could call anywhere in the country for free; these guys said, "Call me if you have any questions,"  and I did!  [Laughs.]

Tafuri: And how old were you now?

Seaton: Let's see, I guess this was probably '78 or '79, so I was 21, 22.  So I'm calling these guys with questions constantly...

Tafuri: Like real technical questions?

Seaton: Some were creative questions —David Friesen was very great about some creative things —that sort of stuff.  I really appreciated that, and still do to this day.  So, I was getting diverse influences, because Friesen at the time was doing a lot of duo stuff with John Stoll.  Just beautiful, creative free music.  It was incredible.  And then Rufus was traveling with Dexter, and they were just hitting hard, playing some serious bebop.  Phil Woods' bebop with Gilmore was incredible —Gilmore's beautiful, lyric bass playing was a huge influence on me too.  I love Rufus' power, man —that guy can lay it down in the bottom, you know?

Tafuri: I just saw at the store the other day, I didn't even know it had come out, the Carnegie Hall concert with Dexter.  You know, Johnny Griffin plays on a couple tracks on that —they do that great version of "The Blues Up and Down" —a fifteen-minute version of it —they tear the joint down.

Seaton: The beat is what got me —I really dug the beat.

Tafuri: It's evident in your playing.  You're one of the swinginest players —you get this amazing drive going.  A lot of people who listen to the music don't really understand how important the bass is for keeping time; everybody thinks the drummer is the time-keeper.

Seaton: In my opinion, everybody should be the time-keeper, and I'm very adamant about that.  But yes, I do like to groove. [Laughs.]

Tafuri: You know, what's interesting is that on the record, you're showing —not that you've never showed this side of yourself before —but you play so beautifully solo, and you do such wonderful arco work, and I know how special that is, because there are not a lot of people that do that.  I'm not asking you for the chronology of your life, like "Tell me your whole like story," but where did the arco stuff come in?  How did that side develop?

Seaton: I had been into Major Holley and Slam Stewart, and then a little bit later Ernie Shepherd, and I was also doing it then (I've done it for a long time) where I sang and bowed at the same time.  That's where that started in jazz —I've been doing that a really long time.  That started from hearing Major Holley and Slam Stewart, but also from someone's wonderful suggestion that, in order to improvise something that you hear, to play what you hear (and conversely to hear what you play), try doing two things, in reverse.  One, sing something and then play it; and then play something and then sing it.  So that as opposed to just having your fingers do something that you've practiced, patterns and that sort of stuff, you're actually connected. It's very easy to play an instrument that you just have to put a finger down and either draw the bow or pick a note, and it doesn't always pass through your ear, or your heart and soul.

Tafuri: You're internalizing it.

Seaton: Exactly.  So I started experimenting with that.  Of course, then I started checking out Major and Slam and all that. While in Oklahoma, with these guys I talked about, we had the band called Oleo —we'd always say, "You better not miss Oleo" —sorry...  [Laughs.]

Tafuri: Yeah, you had that razor-sharp sense of humor back then too....

Seaton: Anyway, we used to drive and go hear people whenever possible.  We'd drive down to Dallas, we'd drive to Wichita, Kansas, a lot, to go to the jazz festival there...

Tafuri: Great festival.

Seaton: That's where I first met Rufus, I believe, and definitely where I first met Major.  The year, I'm not positive, but it was probably in '79.  I got to talking with Major, and I had him on some recordings....

Tafuri: And you were already doing your thing?

Seaton: Yeah.

Tafuri: He's the one —I forget now, one of them's in unison, and one's in the octave —

Seaton: Major's unison, and Slam's an octave above.  Anyway, I got invited to his hotel room, and we sat and played some duets, singing back and forth.

Tafuri: Wow, that's heavy, huh?

Seaton: I learned a lot at that point.  That's something that also happened to me later in life with Slam —also a cherished moment.  That was a big eye-opening experience.

Tafuri: You're carrying it with you —that's the beauty of the music.

Seaton: Exactly.  Slam —this is much later —I was with the Count Basie Orchestra, we were on tour with the Newport All-Stars with George Wein, and Slam was traveling with them;  they had just finished, and we were getting ready to go on with the Count Basie Orchestra.  Slam sticks his head out from the side of the curtain, and goes [singsong voice], "Heyyy, Lynnnnn, have fun!"  [Laughs.]  A priceless moment.  So anyway, I was really working hard trying to study the music.  I didn't know a lot of tunes at that point in time, but I happened to go visit my sister, who had moved to Cincinnati; two things happened that summer.  One, I just happened to be there during the International Society of Bassists summer workshop —

Tafuri: That's where François comes in....  Okay, go ahead.

Seaton: Yes, one of the guests was François Rabbath.  I saw François and my mouth just dropped to the floor —that is some of the most beautiful, incredible bass playing I've ever heard in my life.

Tafuri: He's brilliant.

Seaton: It seemed so far beyond my technical ability at the time —I was just like "Man, that's incredible..." —it was unbelievable.  That was my first exposure to him and some of his music; I started getting some of the technical things they were offering there.  Also, that same week I happened to go and sit in at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club, with John von Ohlen, Steve Schmidt....  I had been playing jazz for a fairly short time, but I'd been playing bass for a long time, so I had a good beat.  But I didn't really know many tunes, you know?  Not like I do now.

Tafuri: But you walk into a situation like that, anybody, and you feel like, you know....

Seaton: Yeah.  Anyway, I sat in with Steve and John, and said "If you ever need a bass player, I'd be interested..."  Well, it was just a few short weeks later that they called and said "Were you serious? We're looking for a bass player for the weekends."

Tafuri: Oh, wow.

Seaton: I'm like, "OK."  [Laughs.]  So, I packed up my stuff and split about a week later.  Drove to Cincinnati and started the house gig there.  That was, jazzwise, the most incredible learning experience, other than the stuff that got me started.  It went on for almost five years; we had a house gig that later extended to a fourth night for me, playing with the Blue Wisp Big Band, and also on Tuesday nights, at the same time I started playing a Dixieland gig at Arnold's.  So I was playing jazz for money five nights a week.  At the Blue Wisp we had guest soloists every week, which you well know —you were there a lot.

Tafuri: They weren't doing the Thursday night jam sessions by then?  That had already stopped?

Seaton: Correct.  The guest was there Wednesday through Saturday.  We had a huge array of people.  My first week was Benny Wallace, my second week was Scott Hamilton and Warren Vache, together.  We played with so many people —Al Cohn, Charlie Rouse, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, Maxine Sullivan —the list just goes on and on.  Stylistically, we'd run the gamut from Maxine to Joe Lovano.  During that time, I heard Rabbath a few times, and I bought some recordings —it was a very high standard that I wanted to get some of.  I made my first jazz records with the Blue Wisp Big Band; I did my first jazz road trip, out to California, Ohio, Kentucky, I started to get a taste of what it's like to be a road rat.  I had done it with that rock band —we played all over Oklahoma, that was appealing to me.  So Through those records, through the help of Phil de Greg and Jim Rupp, a couple of guys in Ohio, and the records we made with the Big Band, some of the guys in Woody Herman's band heard about me.  I was called, and offered a position in the Woody Herman Orchestra.  I joined that band, and that's when I started seriously being a road rat.

Tafuri: Did you have to go audition for Woody?

Seaton: No auditions.  Your audition is your first night.  The tradition is, you join the band and you've got a night to do it.  [Laughs.]

Tafuri: Where was this?

Seaton: My first night was in Battle Creek, Michigan.  At the ice hockey arena there.  The Kellogg's Arena.

Tafuri: Everything is Kellogg's.  Like in Atlanta everything is Woodruff or Coca-Cola, they're Kellogg's.

Seaton: Yeah.  So that was my first night with the band.  You want that story?

Tafuri: Well, I can imagine the kinds of things would happen...I'll come back for that one.

Seaton: Obviously things turned out okay —they kept me.  But there have been numerous people who were there one night.  I stayed with that band around nine months.  During that time, I had, through Jerry Pinter, one of the tenor players in Woody's band, met Dennis McKrell.  Jerry set up a jam session, which in my memory was ridiculously early in the morning, because we'd worked the night before and were leaving the next day.  He'd been talking about his friend Dennis for weeks —months, probably.  So we set up a jam session at some ridiculously early hour of the morning before the bus left, and indeed we had a wonderful hook-up.  It was one of those moments like "Someday, we gotta play."  Had another moment like that with another drummer, Jeff Hamilton.  Jeff had been on the band prior to my joining, several years before that, but they'd always call him for a recommendation for a new drummer.  If he was available, he'd come out and play with the band for a few days, or a week or something.  I had the same experience with Jeff —both of these drummers had something to do with my future, but I didn't know it at the time.

Tafuri: Right....

Seaton: So anyway, I continued touring with Woody's band —

Tafuri: And you went all over the world, right?

Seaton: With Woody, we were just all around America.

Tafuri: Oh, the US, OK.

Seaton: I played every state but Alaska.

Tafuri: Really.  Wow...

Seaton: We were out constantly, riding the bus.  This was right when Woody's financial troubles really started happening, and they thought the band was gonna fold at that point in time.  So we had what we thought might be the last tour coming up.  I literally had my stuff in the elevator at the loft [in Cincinnati, ready to leave], and the phone rang.  I ran back and answered the phone, and it's Thad Jones.  He had just taken over the Basie band, and said "We'd be interested in having you play bass for us."  I loved that band, I've got so many records....

Tafuri: And that's that hard swing, man...

Seaton: Yeah, man.  I mean, Woody swung hard too.

Tafuri: Oh yeah yeah yeah....

Seaton: Different thing, obviously....

Tafuri: Well, it appealed to your Midwest sensibilities, there —he had that Kansas City swing going....  [Laughs.]

Seaton: Anyway, Thad offered me a job with the Basie Band.

Tafuri: Weren't you curious why he gave you the call?

Seaton: Because of Dennis McKrell—

Tafuri: Oh, Dennis was in the band at the time.

Seaton: Dennis was on the band —he had been for several years.  He was the last drummer that Basie hired.

Tafuri: And from that one time that you got together for the early morning hit, it made such an impression that he said, "Call this guy"?

Seaton: Mm-hmm.

Tafuri: That's deep.

Seaton: Yeah. But I couldn't do it.  I told Thad, "Look, I'm getting ready right now to go out on what may be Woody's last tour.  I'm committed to it, I must do it."  I couldn't walk out in the middle of the tour —they needed me in two weeks, the Basie band.

Tafuri: How long was the tour?

Seaton: Two months.

Tafuri: Oh, boy.

Seaton: I said, "Thad, I can't believe I'm saying 'no' to another dream gig.  But I am.  I can't do it —I'm committed to Woody.  If you need me after two months, then I'll do it."  So I hung up the phone, got in the elevator, I'm sitting there going "Oh, my God, what did I just do?"

Tafuri: Turned down the Basie band gig...

Seaton: I did.  I turned it down.  But that's part of my work sensibility all my life —if I say I'll do something, I'll do it.

Tafuri: But you'd gotten to know people in the band, you'd gotten to know Woody a little bit, and you understood the potential pathos of the situation.  I mean, even beyond the work ethic, there's a heartstrings element...

Seaton: Oh, I loved Woody.  I still love Woody.  I had some incredible times in that band. Some incredible musical highlights, and some incredible good times too.

Tafuri: So you did the tour?

Seaton: I did the tour, but it turned out that Thad called my machine back the next day.  He said "I respect your sense of commitment, and I'll try to find somebody to come."  So he did —he got some guys to fill in —they had a couple of sit-downs, a couple weeks in Vegas, so it was easy to get somebody to come out.  He said, "When can you start?"  I told him, so I went straight from the tour with Woody to the Basie band.

Tafuri: Wow!  Where was the first gig for that?

Seaton: Montreal,  Canada.  One hour set, live on the radio, no rehearsal.  I met the band on the stage.  There was no rehearsal for Woody's first night either...

Tafuri: Yeah, but it wasn't a radio broadcast —you were at the Kellogg's Arena —

Seaton: You know that tape is somewhere.  [Laughs.]  And out of that one hour set, there were four tunes that were not in the book.  You know, part of getting those gigs is you gotta do your homework.

Tafuri: For a lot of that stuff, some of the really classic stuff, I guess they don't even play what's in the book...

Seaton: Some of the pages are missing...  I remember there was no chart for "April in Paris," no chart for "Jumping at the Woodside," no chart for "Moten Swing" and there was no chart for "One O' Clock Jump."  [Laughs.]

Tafuri: That's the shit.

Seaton: Yeah, but what're going to say?  Fortunately, I was familiar with those charts.

Tafuri: Yeah, and you had Dennis there —

Seaton: A huge saving grace —

Tafuri: And who was playing piano then?

Seaton: Tee Carson.  So, anyway, that led to the Basie band, and that was an incredible two years of my life.  It's strange —I hadn't recorded with Woody while I was there, but there was a period later when they were going through several bass players and things weren't working out, and they had a record coming up.  They called me and said, "Is any way, by any chance, that you could make this record date?"  I said, "Well, when is it?"  I had a week off with the Basie band —it was perfect.

Tafuri: Wow.  A lot of serendipity in your life, man.

Seaton: Yes.  Synchronicity....  So anyway, I had a week off with the Basie band, and they flew me out to California, and I did the record live in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall.

Tafuri: That was the Fiftieth Anniversary Tour album?

Seaton: Right.  They also, by chance, were working their way down the coast to LA, which was where the Basie band was starting up again.  Right after that, they [Woody's band] hired a new bass player, so I got to ride down on the bus and hang.  We had a really good time riding on the bus all the way down the coast.  They got to LA, and I got off the bus and went back over to the Basie band.  I believe that was the period, between joining the band, and doing Woody's thing, and the two months with Woody, that I was gone six months without going home.

Tafuri: Wow.

Seaton: Yeah, pretty deep...

Tafuri: You were more than a road rat at that point...

Seaton: Indeed.

Tafuri: You were a veteran...

Seaton: I did the Basie band for two years.  While we were on the Basie band, we recorded several records and backed up several acts, including Tony Bennett.  Tony would bring his own rhythm section, of course, but through that I met Joe LaBarbara and Ralph Sharon and Tony, and Paul Langosch.  Paul Langosch took a leave of absence, so I was offered a spot there with Tony Bennett.  I did that for two and a half months, and when that was over Ralph Sharon knew that George Shearing was looking for someone also...

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