Tip 43Making the Hang

When I was a young jazz saxophonist in Arkansas, people often asked me, “Oh, do you know Chris?” I didn’t. Chris was apparently the other high-school teenager in Arkansas who was a serious aspiring jazz musician. So, when people met me, they would make the obvious connection, expecting us to be comrades in our very un-high-schoolish jazziness.

One summer, I had the opportunity to see the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra perform an outdoor concert at an amphitheater on the bank of the Arkansas River. Through some combination of good mood and uncharacteristic courage, I ended up backstage chatting with the musicians before they went on. I’ve never been a very chatty person, so this was a real twist of fate. I stood in the back ...

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