In a wonderfully soulful and revealing excerpt from his autobiography Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz, the pianist Fred Hersch remembers his musical introduction to New York in 1977, and specifically when he felt appreciated by none other than Charles Mingus. An excerpt-from-the-excerpt is found below, and is continued on the New York Times website, where this piece appeared on October 24.
In 1977, a week after I graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston, I moved to New York to play with the greatest players in jazz — isn’t that why most young jazz musicians come to New York? Soon after I arrived, while I was picking up gigs at a variety of small jazz clubs in the Village (and one night at a piano bar on the Upper East Side, where I unhappily sang show tunes), I began going to Bradley’s, a bar on University Place owned by Bradley Cunningham, a gregarious, imposing former marine in his early 50s.
I was 21 and Bradley’s was the place jazz musicians went to be with other musicians, hear gossip, learn material, steal ideas, get drunk — and possibly get laid.
I quickly insinuated myself into the scene. Truth to tell, I was pretty full of myself and probably too pushy.
Click here to continue reading on the New York Times website.