|During a telephone conversation to Panama in Orlando early October, I inquired when was he planning to come to New York? He was as enthusiastic as always that his kidney dialysis session could be coordinated with any opportunity.
I invited him to play with Al Casey, Emme Kemp, Red Balaban, Bob Cantwell at my fifth wedding anniversary at Eddie Condon's old location in the Sutton Hotel, October 19th but he had a plan to attend the Friendly Fifty Dinner Dance, November 11th to play with Fred Staton. Unfortunately he could not.
Panama Francis was a gentleman of the old school of rhythm makers who played on
hundreds of tunes that were subsequently copied by drummers who wanted to cover that title. His special smile while he was playing told it all. He was what eh was doing and only had issue with those that took advantage of his talent.
Pete Morgan, a Friendly Fifty member, reports that at Panama's request a 7 - 9pm Jam Session and Memorial at John Joyce Funeral Home, 2332 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd at West 138th Street, NYC will conclude the 2 - 7pm wake on Tuesday, November 13, 2001.
Internment will depart from John Joyce Wednesday, November 14 for George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus, NJ at 9:30am.