Even in his sun-drenched North Hollywood bungalow, jazz legend Med Flory remembers his Logansport roots.
Flory grew up in Logansport and moved on to play big band music, including the works of famous bebop musician Charlie Parker, while supplementing his music with a TV career. Now, at age 86, Flory still has music on his mind, and takes time to visit with his past.
Flory said he first learned about music from his mother who played the piano for silent movies. Then, Flory received formal training on the clarinet and later the alto saxophone from Logansport Band Director Bill Morocco.
“He really took good care of me,” Flory said.
The training later translated to playing with big jazz bands and eventually moving to Hollywood to appear in close to 100 television shows.
But despite his success and Hollywood locale, Med says he still lives a normal life.
“It’s just folks,” Flory said. “It’s nothing high brow or anything like that.”
To others though, Flory is still a legend.
“To me, I felt like I was around a celebrity,” said Elizabeth McQuinn of Logansport.
McQuinn, a former Flory festival organizer, recently had a 12-hour layover in California and called up Flory, who was the only person she knew there.
“And he said, ‘Well, you just come on up,’” McQuinn said.
McQuinn said she spent the majority of the day at Flory’s home, mostly talking about music.
“When he’s talking about jazz or music, he just lights up,” McQuinn said.
Flory remains true to his bebop roots, saying he doesn’t listen to newer music “not unless they’re trying to play bebop,” he said.
“He lives and breathes jazz,” McQuinn said.
That’s apparent even in his home, where his Grammy for his group’s 1973 album, Supersax Plays Bird, sits in his living room.
But Flory downplayed the award, saying that it’s “something that happened.”
“Everyone should have a Grammy as well,” Flory said.
In Hollywood, Flory said he doesn’t often play gigs anymore, but he said he’s still arranging music. He’s currently writing pieces for a new CD, featuring a 15-man band, which he hopes to record next year.
“It’ll be a mix of old chestnuts and some new stuff,” Flory said.
And with his new album, Flory said he’s continuing to improve his craft.
“I’m looking at what happens next,” Flory said. “I’m not through. I’ve still got a lot of things to do.”
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or email@example.com.