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Remembering Trudy Pitts

8.10.32 - 12.19.10

Trudy Pitts

I always call her Aunt Trudy, because she’s been family for years. My uncle, Ellsworth Gooding, was a saxophonist who played a lot around Philadelphia and toured. He was in the Army band. He was in the band that Trudy and Mr. C [Bill Carney, Pitts’ husband] had back in the ’50s or ’60s. They were like brother and sister to my uncle. When I left Trenton, New Jersey to move to Philadelphia with my mother, we moved in with my uncle Ellsworth. The night we moved, Mr. C gave us the key to the house because my uncle was on the road. That first night was the beginning of when I discovered that I wanted to play this music. I had moved into a jazz household there in Mount Airy [section of Philadelphia]. Everybody at that time had some trade. They worked at the Naval Shipyard, they worked as electricians, but they were all musicians.

In a way, it’s funny that I was called on to write this piece because there was a time when I was just Orrin, Goody’s nephew. Joey was the keyboard wiz and rightfully so. It took a second for Mr. C and Aunt Trudy to realize that I really wanted to play and I’m actually glad that made me work hard for their attention….even if they didn’t realize that’s what they were making me do.

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