By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In 1985, he went on his last tour with pianist John Bannister, but the comeback was short-lived: Babasin was diagnosed with emphysema, and he died three years later. If there was an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, it does not turn up in computer searches of the newspaper's archives.
Von and Roy Harte have their suspicions why Harry is ill-remembered by history: He liked to write articles defending West Coast jazz, insisting it was every bit as legit as the music being played back in New York. He was a loud-mouth in the best sense of the word--The Bear, forever roaring. Even if it meant he and his pals would get shut out by the so-called gatekeepers. Historians might treat them poorly, but they'll always have their music to prove their point: They were here, and they were brilliant.
"It bothers me we were kept out of the history books, but all our friends are in them," Harte says, chuckling. "Shorty Rogers and all those guys made the history books, so we felt like we made them too. That wasn't our aim. We didn't aim to make a name for ourselves. I do feel a little left out, but it will come out. I don't have to be around for that. We were the first bossa nova rhythm section, and nobody knows that. So what? In the long run, it's not important who gets credit."
Harte is asked if he is serious. He pauses for a moment, then lets out a deep breath and a loud laugh.
"OK, you're right. It is important. I'll stop the B.S. But I was and amtoo busy to let myself be let down by that. There will always be someone who appreciates us, and that's all that matters in the end. That's it."