Drafted into the double reed section:
After years of swinging Benny Goodman and Sidney Bechet duets on clarinet, she was presented a gift. A shifty canard of an oboe d’amore, that knocked the woodwind right out of her.
Yet, the difference seemed to fit her. Shopping for jazz and blues vinyl at the back corner of the store, the Catholic Bible and poetry on the lower shelves, prepared for double reed sheet music. She welcomed the challenge to deepen the difference.
Paired with a college student private instructor, who crooned her tone made him need to cold shower, she left the too close quarters of that practice room to tutor herself. When her lips hit the floor after hours of torture, she switched to the forgiving clarinet embouchure, then back. She could play on and on till the strobe needle centered and the geese flew off. She was equipped with the deep pockets of black skirt performance. Second row, center stand shelved her A fork and aspirin bottle of soaking reeds, reeds, reeds, with the knife at the ready.
Oboe players carry knives. If her pitch was sharp, the reed was whittled. Flat required a hairs width precision clip. And when the knife slipped, lips took over. Lips, she pinched, then heard could smear, flop, and drop, even Earl Bostic like overtone without her gut begging for mercy.
“Summertime night train in the moonglow on oboe…cool.”