Rufus Reid is in the very top echelon of jazz bassists in the world. He is 74 years old according to Wikipedia, which makes him 63 when he came to Sligo in 2007 and told a group of us to look at an imaginary shelf high up in the room in which we were.
‘See that shelf’, he said – ‘that shelf is where your ego should be left the minute you walk into this room and start playing music with others’.
According to the same source Theo Katzman is 32 and Joe Dart looks to be a similar age. Theo came to Dublin recently and Joe was in his band. They are musical heroes to young music students and many others throughout the world.
I was struck by how they both got up to play with the support act during her set, and also how they were the ones moving around microphones and amps between sets to make sure the stage was ready for Theo’s set. No sign of any ego from either of them.
It was said to me last night that ‘the really good guys have no ego. It’s the ones who aren’t quite there yet who you will often find have something to prove’.
Possibly true in some cases, but no reason why it should be. You don’t have to be really good in order to do the decent thing in life.
Leave it on the shelf.