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The Boys in the Bands qx
I got so busy with my inlay work and being a voluntary probation officer, you understand , . * the doctor s voice trailed off.
"See, my brother Sidney used to hide his schoolbooks when he was real little and go off and play flute. I never knew he was playing, you understand? And at that time I had a clarinet and 1 put it up on the armoire, because I wanted to give it to him when I was ready. I asked my mother did Sidney touch it and she say he did. So I ask him to show me what he could play. He sound pretty good.
"So from then on, Sidney started and I couldn't keep up with him. Sometime I'd look at him and I'd imagine the shape of his mouth just fit the clarinet. Sidney gets everything so easy, you understand?" Dr. Bechet had to wipe his eyes before he could continue.
"We had a fine clarinet player, George Baquet,* who taken a great liking to Sidney and showed him a few little tricks on the clarinet And sometimes, when Baquet wanted to lay off, he used to come and speak to my mother and ask could he take Sidney to play in his place for the evening.
"Well, you know, we were very poor. My father had a little shoe shop one time. Then afterwards he got into a little restaurant and that didn't do so well, so he had to come back with the shoes. Then he did achieve a job in the Mint—nothing so big—but anyhow he worked there a while. *
"He was a Republican and liked politics and helped organize the Citizens League. He had selected friends and he liked to spend a quiet evening with them, playing his flute. He encouraged Sidney in music, but when he thought we kids done wrong, he'd be a little rough. Grab a shoe strap and beat you almost anyhow. My mother used to intercede because she was very soft-hearted, and she'd talk to Sidney, 'My dear child, this, and dear child, that.'
"Now, in our family we kept ourselves nice and always be at home, not running around. We didn't want to jeopardize our
* George Baquet, Creole, whom Jelly Roll calls "the first jazz clarinet."