Jazz has given me many unexpected startling pleasures. Years ago, at Basin Street East in New York, Sonny Stitt suddenly broke into a stop-time chorus, without the rhythm section, and all conversation stopped. It was as if time itself had stopped, but was still swinging.
Five years ago, at Arbors Records’ March of Jazz in Clearwater, Fla.-a tribute to Ruby Braff on his 74th birthday-Sonny LaRosa’s “America’s Youngest Jazz Band, featuring Musicians Ages 6 to 12” was scheduled first on one of the mornings. Remembering what Charlie Parker famously said, “Music is your own experience…If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn,” I wondered how much these kids could have experienced.