Today would have been the 91st birthday of comedian, First Amendment fighter and major jazz nut Leonard Alfred Schneider, better known as Lenny Bruce.
Lenny was a comic, not a musician. But his love for jazz led to some interesting musical collaborations.
He even produced a television pilot (The World of Lenny Bruce) that featured performances by jazz stars of the day including Cannonball Adderly, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and Buddy Rich (see clip below.) But, of course, none of the gutless prigs running the networks would touch any show hosted by a foul-mouthed lunatic like Lenny.
And here's a final musical connection: Lenny's last gigs were with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention at the original Filmore Auditorium on June 24 and 25,1966. Those who saw the show reported that Lenny was not in good shape. He died of a drug overdose about six weeks later,
Let's start with a strange beatnik poetry interlude called "Psychopathica Sexualis from Lenny's 1959 album The Sick Humour of Lenny Bruce
Here is Lenny singing -- and doing some shtick with -- a bittersweet little song about loneliness.
As promised, here's a clip from Lenny's TV pilot. "I feel from jazz," he declares as he introduces Buddy Rich.
And to conclude, here's Stan Ridgway covering Bob Dylan's tribute to Lenny
Happy birthday, Lenny!