Woke up with a tenor saxophone solo going through my head and I can’t remember whose and it’s driving me nuts. It’s just a fragment, fifteen or twenty seconds of somebody blowing something really nice. I can’t really even hear the rhythm section. I’m not one of those cats who wakes up hearing a Hank Mobley outtake and recognizing it. I know guys like that, though. Most of them are players. Jazz players know everything about jazz. Well, they don’t, not everything, but to a layman they might as well, we can’t tell the difference. The other kind are jazz critics. Not all of them, but the serious ones. The encyclopedic Scott Yanows and Don Heckmans and Kirk Silsbees and Richard Ginells and Tom Meeks et al of the jazz universe. We’d all be hanging together in the Playboy Jazz Festival press room looking expertly and the conversation would turn to jazz players, then jazz sessions, then jazz sides, then jazz solos, then outtakes. That’s when you find out that basically you’re just a glorified rock critic. I mean these guys know everything. It’s like listening to baseball fanatics rattle off stats. I’d stay quiet, then slip off and stuff the complimentary beers into my jacket pockets to take back to our seats. You weren’t supposed to take them outside but I hate rules. Give the wrong time, stop a traffic line the poet said. Once I copped a whole bottle of wine. Then went back and got another. You just can’t trust some people. That wine sure went down nice with Wayne Shorter’s set, though. Wayne was so out, I mean he didn’t give a flying fuck if the crowd liked it or not (they didn’t) and his band–Brian Blade on the drums, John Patitucci on bass, Danilo Perez on piano–were so intense, and I’d slipped into the seats they reserve for VIPs and network newsmen and beauty queens…like the beauty queen who sat next to me, in fact. Lovely. We chatted, me and Miss California. It wasn’t a bad gig, really, being a jazz critic.

Stan Getz. Obviously. Ligia. The Jobim tune. Once the guitar filtered in I recognized it. João Gilberto’s playing is so instantly identifiable. Well, it is now, though it would have spared me some annoyance if I recognized it an hour or two ago. Of course now the whole tune with guitar and bass and drums is going through my head over and over. But that’s OK, I absolutely love this take. I have it on a comp–think it’s The Lyrical Stan Getz–and not  on the original. I can hear the long solo blowing through my cerebral cortex now. There are worse earworms. Ça Plane Pour Moi, for one. You even think of that name and the infuriatingly catchy chorus will skip around inside your skull like a broken record. Like it is now, in fact. Brick, you’re an idiot.

Richard Ginnell and Scott Yanow surrounded by rich people and looking way too smart for their own good. Playboy Jazz Festival, 2011. Photo copped from

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