It was Hollywood!

February 8, 2019



I had an early flight which would be from the New Orleans International Airport, approximately 2 and a half hours from my home. As I did my final look around and gathered my things to load into the car, thoughts were having a hey-day in my head. It was difficult to contain my excitement.


There had been a weather forecast of icy roads, freezing temps and general hazard conditions for my entire route there. Apprehension gripped me like a vice as I pulled out of my driveway.


It turned out to be clear and cold but not nearly as cold as predicted. No ice, No hazard which made me a happy girl.


It would be a direct fly, no stops or layovers…New Orleans to LAX. Unfortunately the plane I would be taking had mechanical problems in Minnesota as it was preparing to come and get me (and others)  in New Orleans. 


My son, Eric Erdman, had everything planned out precisely. I would arrive at LAX, he would meet me there and take me safely to the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood where he would be playing with The Buddy Rich big band for the first time.


My flight was delayed, then delayed again, and then once more. Eric had to be at the event early to run through some things, so reluctantly he had to alter his plans to pick me up. 

I was left to my own devices when I arrived, much to his dismay.


I took a yellow cab (not an uber…thats a another story)…the cab driver spoke with a heavy accent as he told me he was from Bangladesh. He has been in America for 30 years so he speaks reasonable english. This man was very talkative (so am I), so it was a lively conversation for the entire ride to Sunset Boulevard.


Before Eric took the stage he text me with great concern as to why I had not arrived. I asked the driver how long…he said “very shortly, we are almost there”. Then he took several turns in Hollywood and appeared to be confused.


Bottom line is I got there safely before the show began.


It was a very nice supper club. Eric rushed out to greet me and took my luggage and threw it into his rental car…we went right in ready for the show.


This band had a bass player, a pianist on a grand piano, Eric on electric guitar, 5 trumpets, 3 trombones, 5 saxophones (4 regular and 1 baritone). Oh and of course a drummer who was the center of attention….after all, this is The Buddy Rich Band…which will always feature the drummer. (The drummer is Greg Potter, husband of Buddy Rich’s daughter Cathy).

Cathy Rich, who is a beautiful person inside and out, sang several songs with the band and even though she said her voice was cracking…I could not tell, she sounded wonderful to me! Her name is RICH, and she looked the part with the fabulous outfit she wore and her perfectly coifed hair and beautifully manicured nails…she is MARVELOUS! I have to also say she is sweet as sugar…she hugged me several times and seemed genuinely happy to see me.


The band brought back memories of my youth when we watched Lawrence Welk shows with his big band. It was jazzy and snazzy! There is no doubt that the musicians in this band are at the top of the food chain in skills and experience. I would say they were the cream of the crop.


This kind of music keeps you spell-bound. Anytime you have that many musicians of that caliber on the stage, the music penetrates your heart. You tend to feel every note as it fills the room from wall to wall with heavenly vibrations.


I loved the show. I am happy that Eric has been invited for more shows. The next one coming up is in Pasadena, California on March 3rd at The Rose.


It is an honor for Eric to be asked and he is very excited to play with such a powerhouse of skilled musicians.


Can’t wait to see where they go next.


If you like big band music, check out the Buddy Rich Band.


Juanita Smith

Music Mom




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