See, Half-Blood Blues, 3 mins, 33 secs, is almost all I got out of that time. I ain’t sore about it. Ain’t no glory made from beingdependable. But it started Chip’s career a second time. Jolted the man awake again. And, well, it made Hiero one of the most famous jazz trumpeters of his generation.
The kids’ existence might’ve been a fiction we’d all cooked up if that disc hadn’t survived. Today you ain’t no kind of horn player if you don’t acknowledge some debt to Hieronymus Falk. He was one of the pioneers: a German Louis Armstrong, if you will. Wynton Marsalis praised Falk as one of the reasons he started playing at all: “Hearing Falk—man, that was it. It just blew my mind out. I was just a kid, but even then I knew I was hearing genius. His brilliance was that obvious.” Even fellow who ain’t never played jazz understood he was the man. Punk guitarist, avant-gard cellists, even tootsie-pop songbird was all drawing on him. I eard a riff on NPR the other day had Hiero all over it.
But the kid could have been lost to history….
Alive Soul Note: There was no Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year, this book would have gotten my vote.