CHUCK SCHWARTZ

There’s no substitute for talent. You always have to work your ass off: learn the language and literature of jazz.

JAZZ SAXOPHONE

There’s no substitute for talent. You always have to work your ass off: learn the language and literature of jazz. If you don’t, you can’t bullshit your way through; the real players will know the difference. In reflecting on near 50 years in music, two things come to mind: 1. If you’re going to do this as a career, you shouldn’t complicate your life with marriage, kids and the like. You’re just asking for trouble. 2. The players with talent show it early. If you’re not killing it by 35 then back it up with a day job or get out. What’s tough about a career in jazz? It’s a very chancy occupation that can put wear and tear on body and soul. I was going to get out in my mid-30s, when a band I was in folded, but divorce came along and after scuffling in Mobile for a while I took a gig in Birmingham to pay child support and survive. The good things? Like anything else, doing something you like and hanging out with people you like.