It was at a concert in San Jose, CA that I first met Scoby Stroman. He lived in New York and had come out to do a couple of concerts with his friend, Eddie Gale. I introduced myself to Scoby, and after talking with him for a few minutes we just had an instant connection. He was such a nice gentleman that I immediately liked and respected. Scoby was a sand dancer and a jazz drummer, and he ran a famous jam session in Brooklyn in the Bedford-Stuyvesan area. He invited me to attend the jam sessions at the club where he worked any time I was in New York. At the moment I can't think of the name of the jazz club and can't find anything resembling it on my internet searches.
At the time, I was in New York quite often. I lived in the San Francisco Bay area and was based in New York, flying the North Atlantic routes for Pan Am. Several other commuter pilots and I shared a commuter apartment in Queens, near the airport, and I had a car there so I could go into Manhattan very often. Sometimes, I would take the subway; it depended on where I was going. If I was going to the jazz club where Scoby worked, I always drove, because Scoby told me it was not safe to take the subway there at night.
If I was just going to Manhattan and back, I would usually take the subway because parking was difficult and espensive. But if I was going to be at a club seeing a show late at night, then I would drive because I didn't like the subways at night at all.
Many times I took my wife with me and if Scoby was working, we would go to the jam sessions; if he was off that night, then we would go with he and his girl friend to dinner and to see some jazz shows. He introduced me to Randy Weston, whose concert we attended. Scoby knew every top musician; there was no one he didn't know, and they all knew and respected him.
The musicians at the jam sessions were all heavy hitters; Branford Marsals was there; a drummer who played for Abbey Lincoln was a regular; the bass player and the drummer for Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross were regulars; pianist Rodney Kendrick who went on to play for Abbey Lincoln, and later married Rhonda Ross, daugher of Diana Ross and Barry Gordy. They now tour and perform together. Rodney and I became friends and we would hang out many times when I was in NY.
I was a mediocre drummer and they tolerated me, probably because I was a friend of Scoby's. I was usually the only white guy in the place, and I never felt not welcome. It was all about the music, and these guys were all top shelf professionals.
Unfortunately, Scoby died at age 64 in 1996, and it was reported as being from complications following a stroke.
The photo is the only one I can find of Scoby. He is third from the left.