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The story behind the story of Outside In:

I was fifteen when I played my first professional gig, a raucous cocktail party thrown by my Aunt Zelda. Three hours of clarinet duets with my pal Howard Isaacson (www.howardisax.com). Every professional musician knows what we didn’t know before that day: Unless people are there to hear you, virtually no one listens to the music when the cocktails are free. In fact, you might be surprised how intensely people can talk over you when there's an open bar. For the next 39 years I’ve played almost every kind of gig a clarinet/sax/flute person could play—Broadway, symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, wind bands, swing bands, cabarets, night clubs, bars, every kind of recording session from jingles to films to big bands. I was even hired and recorded by the Yankees in a first class studio with top players to imitate an amateur out-of-tune marching band on “Take Me Out to the Ballpark.” I’ve worked on deluxe tours and “bus & truck” one-nighters, cruise ships, bar mitzvahs and weddings. In high school in Philadelphia I played a wedding that ended with a rumble between the groom’s family and the band. I’ve played 3 am Latin gigs, concerts at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fischer, Catskill hotel gigs, gigs at the Waldorf and the Carlyle, gigs for mobsters who needed to launder their cash through a big band in an empty banquet hall, and gigs for mobsters who didn’t like us taking breaks or looking at them too closely. I was hired to play solo alto flute in an elevator. I once worked an office party featuring Thai and Indian cuisine, while I sat cross-legged on the floor in my tux, playing bansuri flutes. I even played a marriage proposal—in my tux with my tenor at a bridge in Central Park.

At the show Glorious Ones I wore a troubadour outfit. At Songs on a Shipwrecked Sofa I wore a bulbous white turban over my tux while I played tenor, and actually had a line—a joke in an Indian dialect. At High Society I had to wear on stage an oversized orange ruffled shirt and a black sombrero with dangling red balls. I’ve also worked with some of the greats—from headliners to conductors to fellow musicians. The most talented could sometimes throw the worst tantrums. The most foul-mouthed trumpet player was also the sweetest-sounding player I’d ever heard. I used to know a brilliant conductor who only wore orange. And every once in a while I’d come upon a genius with an audiographic memory, incapable of relating to other humans.

All this led me to wonder, If you were raised to be truly open and free, unrestrained by society, would you go wild? Would others think you were insane or a genius? What if you fell in love with an artist only to discover their work was repulsive to you? Could you still love them? What if you created a piece of art from the depths of your being, perfecting it all your life, only to discover no one likes it? 

This novel is about making art—following your muse wherever it goes, even if that scares away everyone, including the person you love most. Outside In puts you inside the wacky life of a working class musician, and explores the “crazy genius” in us all.

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa

Lisa Sloane, Scott's wife
and website designer

The layout of Outside In is designed by my wife, Lisa Sloane. In fact, Lisa designed this website. You can visit her at www.lisasloanedesign.com. The cover art is from one of her paintings. You can view her stunning drawings, paintings and watercolors at www.lisasloane.com.

Lisa is an inspiration to most everyone who knows her. Here in our home I’m surrounded by her lush paintings, which motivate me to stay true to my work. Outside In is not just a story about a musician; it is a testament to the spiritual power of art.