Donald Bailey introduced Glover to Miles Davis at the Comedy Club. He said, " 'Miles, I don't know why our buddy wants to meet you. You're not all that [interesting].'
"Miles used to have that raspy voice," Glover says, and she rasps out Miles' reply, " 'She just want to meet a good-looking black [man].' "
Albert Dailey, also in the band, was a pianist always probing the frontiers of jazz. He made a national reputation playing with everybody from Davis to Dexter Gordon to Sarah Vaughan, but especially Stan Getz, with whom he made the wonderful album Poetry.
Organist Lou Bennett, who learned his instrument in Baptist churches, played the Red Fox for months at a time when the Hammond B-3 organ was the instrument Baltimoreans loved to listen to. He introduced the B-3 to France in 1959 and only came back once to play at the Newport Jazz Festival and then here for the Left Bank Jazz Society. He's buried in a Paris suburb.
The Arch Social Club, at North Avenue, is the last place on The Avenue to present jazz regularly. The oldest African-American social club in town, the Arch was founded in 1912. Its clubhouse was built as a movie theater the same year.
"We're on the historical list," says Jerry Owens, house chairman. "We're trying to get some money to repair the whole building."
A couple of demi-nudes lounge on the arch of the baroque facade that rises from behind the club's marquee. Frederick W. Schanze, a pharmacist with a shop on the corner, opened the movie house and hall for meetings and dances and such at 2426 on The Avenue in 1912. Much later he started the Metropolitan Theater Company, which ran the Met movie theater, another vanished landmark, across North Avenue.
The Arch Social Club's lounge and restaurant has the lovely retro look of a a nightclub popular in the 1950s. The somewhat battered hall upstairs seems a little like something out of a vintage Western with its huge mirrors and sconces holding what might be old oil lamps.
Glover looks at the photographs in the lounge: "This is Joey DeFrancesco, the organ player. He's the youngest of them. They have 'name' groups here. Jimmy McGriff and Hank Crawford, I worked with them, both of them."
The jazz group from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore played here this fall, too.
Glover continues down The Avenue. In the 2200 block she says: "The Ubangi Club was right there. See where that greenish wood is? They kept a jazz band. But they had a nice crowd of folks that were there daily because they had like a liquor store. They would have good jazz groups that would come in there. But they were local."
The Ubangi Club was at 2213, next to a place now called the Paradise Lounge, which claims "the coldest beer in town." Somebody once counted at least 47 liquor licenses on The Avenue, many of them for small clubs that had live bands occasionally, but hip jazz jukeboxes all the time. Like the Crossroads Bar, up near Fulton, where Glover liked to hang out, if she got a long break at the Red Fox.
"Twenty-one-o-seven is the old Sphinx Club!" Glover says, as she moves her tour along. "There's nothing there that even gives you the image. It was always so pretty, so lit up. It really was a private club. And my impression was that it was for elite blacks. That was where they hung out.
"And you could always sing when you went in because they kept a house band, Chico Johnson and his organ trio and Earlene Reed, singing in there. And whomever was down The Avenue performing, after the clubs closed that's where you went. Put on a good show in there. If you were a musician all you had to do is ring the bell. They'd tell you, 'Hey, come on in here, give us a little song.' And they had good food."
The Sphinx looks dreary now with the old sign stripped away, all boarded up and painted barn red.
"It was always kept so well. Tilghman must be turning over in his grave. That's the man who founded it."
Charles Tilghman started the club in 1946. He had already run a couple places on The Avenue. Now he created a swank, elegant private club that attracted leaders of the African-American community. Furman L. Templeton, the head of the Baltimore Urban League, was chairman of his first advisory board. The Urban League offices were a couple blocks farther north on The Avenue, near the Arch Social Club. Furman L. Templeton Elementary School at Pennsylvania and Dolphin Street honors his memory. Tilghman ran the Sphinx Club until his death in 1988. The club pretty much died with him. Four years after he was gone, so was the club.
Just below Presstman Street, a dingy, white-painted building has a sign that says "Slappy White."
"Well, you know, when Slappy White and them would come to town, he had a place with just enough of a space for him to lease a room and maybe a bath," Glover says. "But it was prettier than that."