Every morning when I pull into my garage, I make sure there’s jazz on the radio. Sometimes I don’t even want to listen to jazz, but I pick something appropriate before turning the corner. Yama, Friday the 13th, Shine on Harvest Moon. I swipe through the gate.

I pause, because the guard wants to hear what I’m playing. Sometimes he knows it, sometimes he doesn’t, and I say “that’s Hawk” or “that’s Blakey.” It can only be a pause, because there’s always a car behind me and I can only hold up traffic for so long.

At one of my jobs, there was a guy named Charles. Charles hated all of my coworkers, I think he hated me too, for a while. We would both get into the office before 7:00, I think for the same reason, because we hated our coworkers and cherished that time.


I would usually be blasting jazz out of my office. Sometimes I would hear Charles tapping along. Sometimes he would stop by “do you like Tatum?” “It’s sort of a shame that people only know Getz for Bossa Nova.”

In a jazz bar once while traveling, I made friends with clarinetist in the house band. His biggest influence was Benny Goodman. He brought me to smoke in the kitchen with the band. We talked about Goodman, and Stardust. He said they never played it, because it was difficult and the audience never reacted to it. On my last night there, the band played it.

I have a friend who is really into music. You talk about Griffin’s sax on In Walked Bud being the greatest sax recording of all time and he’ll counter with the atonality of Coltrane. Somehow it drains the recordings of their power.