Med Flory

(LA Weekly, 2005)

On 52nd Street alto saxophonist Med Flory once gave Charlie Parker his last five dollars. Bird paid Flory back bigtime, though, when Med arranged his solos into Supersax. Bird…Med’s eyes light up. The wisecracks cease. He’s one of the kids who heard “Ko-Ko” and flipped. Parker revealed whole new dimensions, musical universes. So what if bop drove the folks away? The hell with popular shit. On this night John Heard will anchor the rhythm section, guests will sit in, Carl Saunders will play miraculous trumpet. The sets will be bop, blues, maybe a casual vocal. Med’ll sit on his beat-up sax case, take a deep breath and blow like a crazy mother, eyes wild, lost in progressions. Then, remembering it’s his 79th birthday, he’ll come up for air, wiping the sweat from his eyes. “I just love to play, man” he’ll say, as the pianist unravels the melody.