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"Red Allen, a fierce competitor at the cutting session, had his own way of dealing with bebop. Kenny Davern saw him in action at Minton's one night:
I was with some friends, a bebop band on the stand. The classic one, with the pianist's nose about 4 inches from the keyboard, just about to nod out. Everybody was in to whatever they were playing. It went on for half an hour and the place was packed.In walks Red Allen, like the Red Sea opened up, and he's all spiffed up with his shirt, tie, and jacket. "Hey, Red! Hey, my man!" And he's putting his hand out like he's mayor of Harlem. He walked right up to the bandstand while these guys were playing, thumped his case onto the stand, took his horn out and, while these guys are still playing he's warming up: paa paa paapaa paapaa. And then he stopped them in the middle of the tune and said, "Rosetta". Whomp, whomp. And he started playing Rosetta, walking through the crowd playing to all the people. These cats were in a tempo half of Rosetta and all of a sudden they're in Rosetta. Whether they knew it or not, didn't matter. When he got finished playing he just took his mouthpiece off, put the horn in the case, slammed the case shut, and says, "goodnight y'all. What a ball, what a ball." He was shaking hands and went out the door. These cats went back on and one of them says, "What are we doing? Who was that?"
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