The Daily News commissioned me to write an article, following in Edith Wharton’s footsteps. Ms. Wharton made the journey in 1916; I made it with my photographer son, Simon Russell, in 1997.
TRAVELS, ARTICLES, PEOPLE & PLACES………
I am in Tafraoute, in Morocco’s Anti Atlas mountains, beside a giant argan tree… the oil from its drupes provides an elixir that is one of the local Berbers’ livelihoods.
Though it was in 2007, well before Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising, the press bus I was traveling in was escorted around Tunisia by three men in a black car.
By the time I was commissioned to write this article, I’d come to know Marrakiech like the back of my hand…having walked and bicycled every day in the labyrinthine medina, and from one end of the city to the other.
I took this pic of my son Simon while we were on a Town & Country Travel assignment, waiting in the old Spanish enclave of Sidi Ifni for the cavalcade of HM Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, to drive by. The locals had waited days, he passed by, in an open-top limo, in a few seconds.
As an Englishwoman abroad it seemed entirely natural to sit and have tea one afternoon in a remote corner of the Anti-Atlas mountains in Morocco’s deep south.
It is 1960. I am lying in the African sun on Tunisia’s island of Djerba, where Ulysses’ sailors got drunk on the nectar of lotus flowers. I was drunk on sunshine, after England’s chilly weather. We crossed over from the mainland on a small ferry, the Renault Floride we were traveling in had to be parked sideways.
Morocco is a fabulously hospitable country. Let go of everything you know and you are welcomed everywhere. Simon traveled with me often, his camera always at hand.
I was needless to say quite stunned to receive a letter in a gilt-edged envelope signed by His Majesty the King of Morocco.
Tim Resch of the Friends of Morocco asked me to offer Richard Holbrooke a copy of my book “Escape to Morocco.” Mr. Holbrooke sadly passed away in 2010.
I learned about travel writing from Fodors, when they commissioned me to write for their first ever guide to Morocco. Writing up every imaginable detail about a city involves endless footwork, questions, notes, and eating and drinking!
I must have said something like that… it’s true that Morocco is an agrarian country and I loved hanging out with the Berber farmers… so having a vegetable plot in a community garden in Jersey City kept me close to the earth.
Gary’s beautiful Selmer tenor saxophone… which I let go so that it would not sit in a corner but inspire another musician to explore the realms of the saxophone.
About 1958, Gary on board a passenger ship, bongos at hand, with boyhood friend Ian Bennett. The third young sailor’s name so far unknown.
Gary’s mother, Audrey, taken last year in Sydney at age 88, still glamorous and having fun, escorted by her beau-friend Colin and someone who looks like a ship’s captain.
Robert Wyatt and Alfreda Benge (aka Alfie) as I remember them best… back in the hippie days when we were naive but oh so creative and daring!
When I first saw & heard The Brotherhood of Breath I couldn’t believe my eyes.. and ears. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be Chris McGregor, letting loose such a band of wild blowing guys!
Photos by permission, Cuneiform Records
Gary’s soulmate, Mongezi Feza, a musician from the South African townships and member of The Brotherhood of Breath..he had a heart of gold and died too young.
This captures the way I remember him best, playing, fused to his horn.
Rich Brunton, Bill MacCormick, Laurie Allan and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer) performing in Gary Windo & Friends at Maidstone College of Art in 1975… it was my debut gig. Like Gary, I am out of the picture, to the right, playing piano.
From Gary’s parents’ garden in Brighton, to painting our very white flat in London, to riding in a full-on American convertible in Saugerties, NY.
Ollie Halsall was an unsung hero..but he influenced many famous guitarists with techniques he discovered while working at Butlins’ Holiday Camp! Ollie and Gary were soul mates, two of the funniest men on the London scene.
Gary, me and Steve Swallow — the late drummer D. Sharpe is out of range — in Baltimore, circa 1979.
If I’d thought too long about who I was playing with, I wouldn’t have played….
Gary played with NRBQ – the New Rhythm & Blues Quartet – from when he first met bandleader Terry Adams in 1978, when they were both members of Carla Bley’s band. He continued joining them on the road until his death in 1992. NRBQ is a wild bunch of musicians, still touring the US and abroad.
The front page of Gary’s notes for my album… his humor was as serious as it came!
Pam Windo & the Shades hit the front page of the Kingston NY newspaper as the first punk band in Woodstock, beneath the latest news of the Iran crisis. Gary and buddy Ian Bennett look like a pair of pirates!
This shot was taken at Warner Bros PR department, after a make-up session that rendered me unrecognizable to my band members!
Gary was in his element with my band, painting giant shades, dressing up, changing his hairstyle to suit the set! Again, Chris Grassi’s head can just be seen, the fate of all drummers to be in the background…
Gary’s friend Ian Bennett, friend from Merchant seaman days, later side by side in my band, playing at a gig we called Emergency Clinic! Drummer Chris Grassi is behind them.
Albert Grossman decided we should have a sharp punky look and splurged on nylon suits for all the band. Guitarist Charlie Brocco plays off Gary here, at the White Water Depot.
Letting loose on piano at The White Water Depot, in Mount Tremper, just outside Woodstock. Bass player Ed Fitzgerald is just behind me.
The reverse page of Gary’s scribblings while we were recording tracks at Bearsville.
The top pic shows me as Pam Window… the bottom is after the Whisky-a-Go-Go corrected it!
Record cover artist Tony Wright,. a neighbor in Woodstock, told me to get into a derelict swimming-pool with a transistor radio, and snapped me looking pretty mean.
Friend Daniel Joseph Higgins took this in my back garden in Woodstock… sure, I was playing in the snow.
- Rich Brunton, Bill MacCormick, Laurie Allan and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer) performing in Gary Windo & Friends at Maidstone College of Art in 1975… it was my debut gig. Like Gary, I am out of the picture, to the right, playing piano.
Albert Grossman — manager of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Peter Paul & Mary — snapped in a happy mood. I went and sat next to him in a bar one day and told him he should come hear my band….
He was literally born to music and simply carried on…. my gifted son Jamie
Jamie’s guitar is always at hand, even in the jungle of Costa Rica.
Simon has always loved wide-open spaces… he finds music and inspiration in nature and his gift is in capturing a magic moment.
Knox Chandler, genius NY guitarist, Gary’s best buddy… in good times and other times. And a friend to me, then and now.
He was always ready for fun… with and without his saxophone.
The Carla Bley Band, Italy, 1977. It looks more like the tropics… with Gary listening to the ocean through his sneakers.