An excerpt from HOT MAN: THE LIFE OF ART HODES (by Art and Chadwick Hansen, University of Illinois Press, 1992). The subject is ostensibly the Chicago jazz club, Jazz Ltd., run by Bill and Ruth Reinhardt, but I think you’ll agree it opens up to greater vistas:
Someone once asked Big Sid [Catlett] why he would play a joint like Jazz Ltd., and Sid promptly answered, “It’s not a joint. When Big Sid plays there it’s the spot in town.”
I know many people who undervalue themselves; their mental soundtrack is “Oh, I’m so incompetent,” and their opposite numbers, who inflate themselves out of proportion to the evidence. Sidney Catlett knew who he was and what he did, and wasn’t afraid to acknowledge it: neither false modesty or immodesty, a lesson for all, even those who don’t play drums.