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In Walked Bud

(Mangia, south St. Louis)

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The trombone player arrives late. At the next song break, he greets Dave, takes the stand alongside him, and the trio-turned-quartet falls into Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud." It's an eight-bar blues, a shiny Coupe DeVille of early modern jazz: first verse, both horns play; later, each solos during succeeding verses. First solo goes to the trombone, who isn't expecting it. Takes a couple of bars before he decides where he wants to go — then he's off, painting pictures with his horn while the drums crash behind him, in front of him, above him, a pyrotechnical display of syncopation and back-beat charisma.

Friday night, Dave Stone Trio night. The kind of night you can't help thinking of all the friends you wish were around you, so you could experience this with them.

A troupe of young goofs enters, already dizzy, ask if they can join me at my table.

"I hope you don't mind," one says, "but we might get kind of loud."

I take the hint, rise to leave.

"Take it sleazy," one says, blinks.

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