I first met Arthur when we were playing in Gil Evans’ orchestra in 1976. We had a gig in a church off Gramercy Park in New York City, and I remember a moment during one of Arthur’s solos, as he was taking flight with his signature fat, dark, piercing sound, when I looked over to the other alto player. He was transfixed, staring at Blythe with the same admiring look that was on my face; it was Dave Sanborn.
Later that year, Arthur asked me a simple question, “Bob, can you play bass on the tuba?” Up until that point my only experience playing basslines was at a club called Your Father’s Mustache, a chain of bars where traditional jazz was played (along with the added color of beer and peanut shells on the floor). But I lied my ass off and said, “Of course, no problem.”