My favorite character of all the drummers was Jo Jones. Jo was at a Newport Jazz Festival convocation of jazz drummers, and all of the big names were there, including Art Blakey. There had been a Basie reunion that year, 1957 — Lester and Jo had played with the band. At the afternoon session, Jo was last. All of the big names had played the shit out of the drum set, and Jo put the sticks aside and played finger drums for ten minutes. And then he stopped and smiled and walked off. It was a lesson for the kiddies. Less is more.
I sat in with Sidney Bechet in Juan-les-Pins when he was playing with Claude Luter. Much to Luter’s annoyance. But I knew Sidney for a long time, because he and my brother chased the same Australian girl in 1942 or so! He was very sad being in France, though, because he was treated like a god. People approached him like a deity. And there was nobody to hang with. He was afraid of going back to America because the woman who ran the Savoy in Boston was suing him for non-appearance.