“Tee Hicks was the master of jazz fusion,” said Arringer. “Not just the usual sax and percussion, he had a goddamn synthesizer on stage that he would modulate with a foot pedal to do everything from a Moog pipe organ to just wild static.”

“That sounds…deeply unpleasant,” said the stranger, swirling his liquor. “Don’t people usually try to avoid static?”

“If you do it right, though…perfectly timed and perfectly executed…it’s just another part of the improvisation.” Arringer took a pull from his cup and wiped his lips. “This stuff, your losers on stage playing at being jazz stars? They’re not fit to serve Tee Hicks’ drinks.”

“Sounds like you’ve got a powerful grudge against my boys,” said the stranger. “You think your static-y jazzman was any better?”

Arringer set his jaw. “At the show in ’77, Tee Hicks used static as a duet with his alto sax improv. Blew my goddamn mind.”

“Counterpoint,” the old stranger said.

“What?”

“It was counterpoint, not a duet, when I played the Orpheum in ’77.” A raised eyebrow. “I should know. I dropped out of Juliard.”

Inspired by the song ‘T’ by Hiroki Kikuta, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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