Jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley on "I've Got a Secret" (1996)


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For no logical reason I thought asking if he played a sweet potato was racist.


I picked up one of his LPs when I was working at Tower Records in San Francisco in 1969. I’ll always remember Rufus’ motto from the liner notes:

“Ain’t but one thing going on, all you have to do is dig it.”

That aphorism has served me well over the decades.


I got my copy of this LP while living in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’d put the record on and a jazz bagpiper was mind-blowing enough for them, but when they found out he was black the Scots listeners would lose their shit.


What a delightful find! I’ll be enjoying the mp3 box set of his Atlantic recordings for the next couple of hours…


Daaaang! He also appears to be the person behind the pipes on this gem:


After watching that, I still think that, even though they are awesome instruments, in every sense of the word, bagpipes are not endowed with sufficient chromaticity to play jazz.

My favorite bagpipe is the biniou. Recordings never really do it justice, you have to hear it in person to really appreciate the impact of an instrument that’s as loud as highland pipes, but an octave higher.


How is @japhroaig not on this thread yet?


Er, not 1996. Nope. Not at all.


But only if you pair it with a bombarde (as here).


I love any excuse to watch Steve Allen. While I remember the other panelists from my childhood I don’t remember them as so, um, slow. (On the other hand, even they probably didn’t think it was 1996 when they were recording the show.)


[quote=“logruszed, post:2, topic:73876, full:true”]
For no logical reason I thought asking if he played a sweet potato was racist.[/quote]
“Sweet potato”=ocarina

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