Paul Gonsalves on the Road
A play in one act by Arthur Luby
The opening chorus of “Chelsea Bridge” is played on saxophone as the scene opens on a young man with braided hair sitting on a bench. Two drumsticks lay on his lap. He is agitated and pounds out a funk type beat on the bench, but loses interest in it and starts a rhythm in swing time. Paul walks into the room.
Paul: You beat out an interesting rhythm tonight… I wouldn't know how to play with it…Where's the rest of your group?
Renell: They're all gone. I like to wash up after I perform. They say I'm like you…I break a sweat. Stares at Paul for several seconds and then gathers himself. The beat's pretty simple. Just funk… ba bump ba bump. People like it that way… Sometimes I try to add little accents with the cymbals or the snare to see if someone looks up.
Paul: I heard it. You always liked trying different rhythms and making sure you used all the equipment. When you were a little boy I brought you to the Blue Note back in Chicago and Sam Woodyard showed you how to make a snare drum sizzle and get the right kind of pop on the cymbals…He said you were a natural.
Renell: I don't remember that.
Paul: I do… we all got a kick out of it.
Renell: You've changed. You don't look like the pictures on the albums anymore… And you haven't said my name. Do you remember my name?
Paul: Yes I do, Renell. I gave you that name.
Renell looks up at his father for a beat, but does not rise off of the bench.
Renell: How did you find me?
Paul: I wasn't trying to hunt you down.
Renell: I don't doubt that.
Paul: Mercer saw an advertisement for your little group just after we got into Detroit. I've come by here the last three nights after we got done. We're just a couple of blocks away.
Renell: I know…over at the Michigan Theatre. I saw the notices.
Paul: Did you come see us?
Renell: Ten dollar cover and a minimum of two drinks. That's heavy for me, man.
Paul: You should've called me…I could've taken care of that.
Renell: Where was I supposed to find you?
Paul: Sighs and nods What are you doing here?
Renell: In this club? A gig is a gig…you know that.
Paul: I mean in this town. You should be in New York. That's where a musician makes his name.
Renell: A jazz musician. I don't play jazz… this is an easier city to break into. I've lived here most of my life. People know me.
Paul: Your Aunt Julia told me your mama moved to New York.
Renell: Only after I went to college.
Paul: You went to college?
Renell: Yes I did. They gave me a band scholarship.
Paul: Did you graduate?
Renell: Yes I did.
Paul: Winces That's a wonderful thing… You know, I once had a chance to go to college.
Renell: Is that so?
Paul: To the Rhode Island School of Design. But, I hired on with Phil Edmonds' orchestra instead… (Realizes he is talking about himself) I didn't hear about you graduating.
Renell: It wasn't hard to find out.
Paul: Embarrassed How was I supposed to know?
Renell: The same way most people do… by asking. But, we ain't like other people… not you and me. You and me are more like wild dogs. Once we leave the den we don't know who the other is out on the open plain.
Paul: It's not like that. I wrote you sometimes.
Renell: I got one postcard from Bagdad in 1959 and another from London in 1965. And the handwriting wasn't the same. Now it's the 1970's, so you've got nine years to send me a letter. That way I'll have something from you in each decade I've been alive.
Paul: I wasn't a letter writer. I admit that.
Renell: It wasn't that. It was always the music. It was always Duke and the orchestra…there was never anything else for you.
Paul: Sits down on bench next to Renell When I'm performing there is nothing else. But, when I'm alone on the road sometimes it feels like there's nothing…nothing except miles of pavement and one airport after another.
Renell: I can tell you one thing…I won't be putting people on this earth until I'm sure that there's something in life that's as important as the music.
Paul: I thought that was one of the good things I did…putting you on this earth.
Renell: Leans head back against the wall and stares forward, avoiding eye contact with Paul Well, from what Mama told me, it wasn't part of any plan… You know it would have been easy for her to have told me you were dead. She could have said your real father is no longer with us and that's why you can't see him. But, she thought it would help me to know who you were. So she bought the album with your big solo and all the pictures. I listened until I knew each note and could pound out the beat all the way through to the end. After a while I could imagine myself as Sam Woodyard laying down a big time beat on the double bass drums… I never got any closer to you than that.
Paul: I thought you didn't remember Sam.
Renell: I remember him… Is he still with you guys?
Paul: No… He just upped and left one day and went home. He couldn't take the road anymore, couldn't handle Duke, just got frustrated with everything… Music can be frustrating.
Renell: I know that. I spend too much time scuffling around for gigs.
Paul: It's more than that… You can never play the way you should, or sound the way you want. People always talk about the number Sam and I did at Newport, but we could have made it into something more. Instead, it became an act, like bringing in a trained seal or an acrobat. And I can remember playing hundreds of solos where I was thinking “I'm almost there”…
Renell: That's jazz, man. That's just what you chose.
Paul: That's true. A little Italian gentleman taught me to play the reeds. He wanted me to join a symphony because he thought jazz was a risky music and it made him uncomfortable... But, jazz is about risk… risk is what makes the music worth playing.
Renell: I don't take risks. I lay down a good beat, same thing all the time. And people drink and dance to it. They don't want to have to think about the music.
Paul: That's not what I heard. Each night I was here I heard you try something different… Afro/Cuban, bossa, bop. Your players couldn't handle it and you had to go back, but I heard it.
Renell: The night can wear on you…I try to do something different now and then to stay interested. I'm sure you were the only one that noticed.
Paul: Someone will pick up on it. You're a player, Renell.
Looks directly at his father
Renell: Mama said that once you signed on with Duke you never came to stay with us.
Paul: That's not true. I used to come see you two whenever the band was in Chicago. Then, one night I came to your apartment and no-one was there. One of the neighbors told me you had gone to New York and then a year later I got a note saying your mama had married, and you and she were in Detroit… And after that the road and Duke's orchestra was home.
Renell: You going to come again tomorrow night?
Paul: Tonight's the last night in town.
They stare at one another for several seconds
Renell: There was a tune you did that I used to practice brushsticks to. Nice and slow.
Paul: I play a lot of numbers like that. I can't do the fast ones anymore.
Renell: I can't remember the name.
Paul: Silent for a beat I'd like to know how things go with your playing.
Renell: Well, if you think of it, send me a note sometime and I'll get back to you.
Paul: Where can I find you?
Renell: Where can I find you?
The characters fade out as the introductory bars of “Happy Reunion” are heard on piano.
Paul steps into a spotlight and is introduced by Ellington
Ellington: Ladies and gentleman, one of the very great pleasures of returning to Rhode Island this evening, is that I also have the privilege of bringing Paul Gonsalves home to his family. And in celebration of this occasion, Paul's lovely and gracious sister has requested that we perform a piece from one of our sacred concerts. So I will now call upon her brother to use his saxophone to contemplate the celestial hereafter…Ladies and gentleman, Paul Gonsalves with his rendition of “Heaven”.
Paul smiles and then delivers the first choruses of “Heaven” before the scene fades.
The lights come up on two empty bandstands with chairs behind them. Paul walks out on to the stage carrying his saxophone in one hand and pen and paper in the other. He sits behind one of the band stands, places his saxophone on the chair next to him, and begins writing. He stops, stares at the paper for several beats, and takes a drink from a near overflowing glass of whisky, and then takes a cigarette out of his breast pocket, which he puts down in an ashtray after he is unable to find his lighter.
Loud voice from Offstage: Loud Paul Gonsalves…Paul Gonsalves. We've been waiting on you for half an hour. It's cold out there, brother. Time to get fortified.
Paul: Drunk, responding with difficulty I'll be with you in a bit, man…I'm working on something.
Different Voice: We got something for you to work on, and we got a head start on it.
Mercer walks on to the stage carrying a trumpet.
Mercer: Let him be, he's busy.
First Voice: Who are you?
Mercer: Don't you worry about who I am…he'll be by when he's ready…What are you working on, Paul?
Paul: A letter… to my boy.
Mercer: Those are some evil looking men waiting on you. Who the hell are they?
Paul: Guys I grew up with…they came all the way across town just to see me play.
Mercer: From Providence?
Paul: Not Providence. Pawtucket…I'm from Pawtucket…the wrong side of the tracks. We're on the good side of town tonight.
Mercer: It didn't look very good when we drove through it. Frame houses, warehouses, and bad weather. Doesn't look much different from Manchester or Liverpool… But, I must say, this is a lovely hall. It's been a long time since we've played in an old fashioned ballroom like this.
We used to play in places like this all the time, but now they're gone. These days it's nightclubs and auditoriums… not nearly as classy.
Paul: Well, this place is class, my man, even now. This is “The Rhodes on the Pawtuxet”. The very first big time jazz concert I ever saw was right here.
Mercer: Was that when you first heard Pop?
Paul: No…That was before I became Ducal. My brother brought me here to see Jimmie Lunceford. We had to wait for an hour, but towards ten o'clock they darkened the floor, and Lunceford came out singing with the band playing behind a curtain. Then they drew the curtain… stands and makes a motion with his arms indicating the opening of the curtain… and there he was… picking up his saxophone… Willie Smith standing in the spotlight, playing the shiniest gold horn you'd ever want to see with the band standing and twirling their instruments behind him. The people started dancing and got so excited that they damn near pulled Willie off the stage. By the time he finished, I couldn't tell where the band ended and the audience began.
Mercer: Willie wasn't the same man when he signed on with us. He was never committed to the music. Playing for Duke has to be a life's calling. By the time Willie came to us we were just another gig.
Paul: Not so, Mercer... He was one of the greatest musicians ever to blow through a reed, but he was sitting in Johnny Hodges' chair and we all treated him like he was there to keep it warm.
Mercer: I would have loved to have seen Willie when you did, playing for dancers. We don't see dancers anymore. Real dancers feel the music. These days we get intellectual audiences.
Paul: These days, we get small audiences.
Mercer: Sad, but true… That was an embarrassing house tonight. Looked like there were only about a half dozen folks at the bar and twelve in the seats…thirteen if I count the man you tripped over when he was coming in from the bar during the strolling number.
Paul: I didn't trip on him. I tripped trying not to run him over. People shouldn't walk in front of the stage when we're playing. That's just rudeness.
Mercer: Looking down at Paul's pad of paper I've never seen you write a letter before…to anyone. What are you writing about?
Paul: I'm trying to figure that out.
Mercer: Looks down at pad You haven't gotten very far…just the “Dear”…
Paul: Dear Renell…Softly, in confidence I'm having trouble, Mercer. I can barely see the paper to write. I get dizzy and lose sight of the letters…like the way the stars fade out when the sun is coming up.
Mercer: You've stayed up to see the sun rise too many times, my friend. You need to get off the road, Paul. The road's for people like me and Duke who don't know anything else…or its for young players trying to learn the music, trying to get good, and hoping that one night they'll deliver a solo that people will remember the way they remember a solo played by the great Paul Gonsalves one night in Newport…You've done all that. You don't have to do this anymore.
Paul: Silent for a beat Get off the road and do what? Sit around Queens until my money runs out? Paul hands his pad and paper to Mercer Write for me.
Mercer: You mean take down what you say.
Mercer: Sits next to Paul God help me, I've managed this band for fifteen years, and now
I'm a secretary taking dictation…alright.
Paul: Dear Renell
Mercer: You've already written that.
Paul: I'm getting to it…just let me think…
Here's my first letter to you of the decade. It's only 1972, so there is a good chance that I'll be able to send you another letter before 1980, at least if I make it to 1980.Your aunt came to the show tonight and gave me your address along with your latest notices. I saw where the writer liked the drums and that made me happy.”
Mercer: Why didn't you teach him your instrument, Paul?
Paul: Sips drink Well, the truth is, Mercer, I didn't teach him a damn thing. I wasn't around to do anything for him…But, there's nothing wrong with being a drummer.
Mercer: I didn't say there was.
Paul: I totally respect good percussion. I've never played a solo I was happy with when I didn't have a good rhythm section. (Paul sips his drink and then looks at Mercer) Ready? (Mercer nods) “We were in England when you were playing in Cleveland. Each night we had a full house and wherever we went the people cared about the music. But, now we're in New England. Same weather, but no crowds and no excitement, and I hardly know anyone or maybe I just can't remember. (Mercer stops writing) I hope things get better when we get to New York, but for now it feels like we're on the road to nowhere.”
Mercer: What do you want to tell him something like that for?
Paul: What should I tell him?
Mercer: That we're still the greatest jazz orchestra in the world. He wants to be a musician…tell him the good part.
Paul: What's the good part?
Mercer: It's always a good part when you play “Happy Reunion”. Even after all the times he's done that number with you I saw Duke step away from the piano so he could listen when you took that solo. And when you did “Heaven” folks stood and applauded for three minutes after you were done. And they didn't look like people of faith, my man.
Gonsalves: Don't forget my sister. She has faith.
Mercer: But, they meant it. All of them… You could tell. You can still do it. Tell him that. Tell him thirteen people who came in out of the rain on a bad night were still moved by your playing.
Paul: Reflects for a beat Alright, let me try it different… You ready?
Mercer nods and picks up the pad. Paul remains sitting and resumes recitation.
“We're in Rhode Island now. Small crowds, especially tonight, but your Aunt Julia was here. She put in a request to Duke to do a religious piece, so Duke had me play a number called “Heaven”. Paul puts down his pen and stops his recitation.
Mercer: What's the matter?
Paul: What am I doing? I don't know how to do this… I never wrote Renell a letter, not one in all the time I've been on the road. Clark wrote him once, and when he left the band, Ray wrote him a letter. I think I signed them… probably on a bus late at night going from nowhere to somewhere, or vice versa… Two letters in twenty years and I didn't write either of them.
Both men are silent for several beats.
Voice from Offstage: Paul… the bar is closing. If you can't be bothered with us, we'll go
Another Voice: I know a place downtown that's open till one.
Paul: Standing Sit still good gentlemen, I'm coming. “Let us go into the city presently, to
sort some gentlemen well skilled in music.”
Mercer: What did you say?
Paul: Shakespeare, man. That's from Shakespeare.
Mercer: Where did you come by that?
Paul: Billy Strayhorn taught us Shakespeare… Pauses and sits Billy gave me a Shakespeare play to read until I had read them all… Billy was a scholar. He knew all of the great soliloquies and sonnets by heart.
Mercer: You don't have to tell me about Billy.
Paul: He was the best of us Sobering We could be booked in a dank, ugly city…staying in a seedy hotel, but when he was with us we were part of something refined.
Voice from Offstage: C'mon Paul. If you're coming with us, let's go.
Mercer: Don't go off with those people, Paul. What about your letter? (Paul shakes head) The bus leaves at midnight. If you miss it you may never catch up with us.
Paul: I'll find you folks. I always do.
Mercer: Don't go over there.
Paul: I have to… I don't like to let people down.
Paul picks up his saxophone and staggers away leaving the unfinished letter visible on the chair next to the bandstand. Mercer looks at the letter as the lights go down. After several beats the voice of Duke Ellington is heard as he walks Paul into the spotlight.
Ellington: Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased and relieved to announce that Paul Gonsalves has managed to locate our orchestra… just in time to supply us with his conception of Billy Strayhorn's “Chelsea Bridge”.
After Ellington strikes the opening notes on piano Paul launches into the climactic bars of Strayhorn's masterpiece.
The scene opens on the unlit Professor's office with Paul still semi-conscious and laid out on the easy chair with his instrument on his lap. Mercer opens the door and turns on the light. He considers Paul and shakes his head. Paul opens and rubs his eyes.
Paul: You walked in here like a man with a purpose, Mercer.
Mercer: I didn't think you were alert enough to tell.
Paul: I came to when you opened the door. What's on your mind?
Mercer: Nothing very kind, my friend.
Paul: That's too bad. Kindness is a rare and valuable attribute.
Mercer: That's quite an insight.
Paul: I've found a new maturity in the last thirty six hours.
Mercer: I see.
Paul: I take it that I'm in trouble.
Mercer: I would say you are well beyond trouble, my friend. I would say you've crossed
the frontiers of insecurity and penetrated into the territory of career mortality.
Paul: Shakes head and waits a beat before response I knew the grim reaper would come
one day, Mercer, but I didn't think he would have your face.
Mercer: I don't relish the role, Paul. I knew this moment would come and I dreaded it, but here it is… You're finished. I've been on the phone trying to find someone I can bring in from New York to sit in your place. We've given “Cottontail” to Harold and taken “Happy Reunion” out of the book.
Paul: Duke is getting tough.
Mercer shakes his head and can't help from smiling, but then bends down to speak at face level with Paul
Mercer: Look, I talked to Clark and some of the other guys I know in New York. Clark said he can still get you work in the studios. It's steady, you wouldn't be on the road, and if you handle it right you can make as much as you do from us.
Paul: I do believe I heard they had an opening for a Tropicana commercial…creative work, no doubt.
Mercer: You were certainly creative in all kinds of ways last night.
The observation finds its mark.
Paul: How do I go about arranging this studio work?
Mercer: Clark will do it for you. I'll give you his number once we're done here.
Paul: What are we doing here?
Mercer: Well, you were here to talk to these innocent kids. Now, I'm here to take your place,
seeing as you don't appear to be fit for polite society.
Paul: College kids aren't polite society. That's what I like about them.
Mercer: Do you feel up to talking to them?
Paul: I'd like to do something right this week.
Mercer: If you want to talk go ahead. But, you've only got a few minutes to clean up and get yourself together.
Paul: I'll be alright
Mercer stands up and begins to leave, but then turns to face Paul again.
Mercer: I know you think we're being cruel by doing this.
Paul: Business is business.
Mercer: It's not business. It's personal, as personal as it gets. I know how I want you remembered…as one of the greatest soloists to ever play with this orchestra, not as someone who embarrassed himself night after night in his…in Duke's final years. And that's what's going to happen if I keep you on the road with us. It's time for you to go home, Paul.
Mercer leaves and Paul leans back and closes his eyes. A few seconds later Colette appears.
Colette: You know if you came home you could be with us more. I could see you when-
ever I wanted.
Paul: Well, not whenever. I would have to work, if there is work. I need to support your mother, and your brother and sister. Besides, you'd have to come downtown to visit me…your mother threw me out of the house the last time the band was in town.
Colette: I know…that was mean.
Paul: Don't be hard on her. I came and went as I pleased … People can't put up with that forever.
Colette: It was fun going to Manhattan to see you at the Edison. I like being out of the house. You remember when I came down last summer when you and Duke were playing at the Rainbow Room? The hotel lobby was full of musicians. It's a different world.
Paul: It's a dying world. Those men are off the road. Some have work, but they aren't playing the music.
Colette: You cooked for me in that little kitchen… what was the dish? It was wonderful
Paul: Linquiso….seafood sausage…made with everything that grows in salt water and muck. I'm going to teach you Cape Verdean cooking one day. I could live with being off the road if you and I could cook together. When we cook together I feel like a father…like the kind of father I should be.
Colette: People say that you're not really my father…that we don't have the same blood and I'm just a step daughter.
Paul: Who says that?
Colette: People at school…friends of Mama…whenever I talk about what you played or where you appeared.
Paul: Ignorance and rudeness… Have I ever called you my step daughter?
Colette: Holding back tears No.
Paul: What kind of foolish talk is that? I never paid any mind to blood or color. Folks from Cape Verde come in all kinds of colors and they got all kinds of blood. My brother is dark and my sister is light. They're the same to me, but in America everyone has to have a race, so my brother is black, and my sister is white. I always thought of myself as a black man, but when I played for Basie they couldn't figure out what I was, so they called me “ull ÒMex”. And poor Willie Smith got so tired of people asking about his race that he took to saying he was Egyptian… But, when I came to work for Duke Ellington I didn't have to think about any of that … because what Duke and Billy wrote was about love… it was about love. And that's what gave us class.
Colette: I'm always telling people about you. My friends get sick of it and I think Mama does too. But, some people are interested. My teachers know about Duke Ellington…and some know who you are. The band teacher says he saw you play at Newport.
Paul: A lot of people tell me they were in the audience that night, but from where I was sitting half of them left before we ever played.
Colette: He told me he stayed. He couldn't believe that he knew someone who was part of your family…the daughter of the hero of the Newport Jazz Festival.
Renell: Except he's not part of your family…or mine. It doesn't have nothing to do with blood. His family is the orchestra and his home is the band bus and the band stand.
Paul: But, now Duke is sending me away, Renell. Life on the road is done. I'm done.
Collette: You're talking like there's nothing else, Daddy.
Renell: There is nothing else for him.
Paul: That's not so. There's other things, I know that… just nothing quite like being on the road with a big band. An artist has to keep moving. If you're not on the move, you don't grow and if you don't grow you die. Look at Hawk, Pres, and Willie. They didn't last more than a couple of months once there were no out of town dates.
Colette: You're not going to die if you come home. I can come stay with you and we can cook.
Paul: There's no room for you, Colette. I wish there was.
Colette: Silent for a beat and then nods head I understand, daddy…I should have known… But, I can't stay at home anymore. I've got to move on. There's a boy I like. He thinks we should be together.
Paul: But, I don't know him. You can't go off with someone I don't know.
Colette: I'm sorry daddy, but if you don't have room for me, there's no reason to stay. Colette leaves
Paul: Rubs eyes and looks up at Renell I suppose you think I'm getting what I deserve.
Renell: I don't feel that way anymore, my man. I know how it is. I have to go on the road all the time now. We're cutting records and they don't sell unless you hit the road… And I understand why you like it. When you hit a new town life starts over. Anything bad that came before never happened…But, the road is a lonely place. I lay down a steady beat and no-one notices unless I make a mistake. Then, after I play, it takes half an hour to pack up my gear and, by that time, everyone is gone and the world is empty. No, the road will never be home for me the way it is for you.
Paul: A percussionist has a hard life. I've seen many a soloist play games with his rhythm section. Bird used to play tricks and change tempo and rhythm just to see if the others could stay with him and, before that, I heard Prez lay back behind the beat while the drummer and bassist were trying to figure out if he was ever going to catch up… I never did that. I stayed right on the beat and made the men behind me part of what I was playing. You see, I was never a true soloist. The pulse from the rhythm section is what gave my playing life…so wherever I played the drummer and bassist were my family.
Renell: I don't play jazz, Pop. I'm not trying to inspire people and I'm not backing big names like Bird or Prez…or you.
Paul: I'm not a big name.
Renell: Yes you are, especially when your name is combined with Mr Duke Ellington's. They even put it in our billing…see. Renell takes a leaflet out of his pocket, unfolds it, and hands it to his father.
Paul: Reading “On drums, Renell Gonsalves, son of longtime Ellington sax great Paul Gonsalves”. That's more notice than I get with my own band these days… but, I don't care about publicity. Every band I ever worked for had better known people. It didn't matter so long as they let me play. And one way or another I always ended up with big solos. I did “Mutton Leg” for Basie, and “Manteca” for Dizzy, and Duke, when he had to have it at Newport…Duke put it in my hands.
Paul's children disappear as the opening piano chords of Diminuendo and Crescendo play softly in the background. The lights come on in the room, Geoffrey steps forward, and the reverie is broken
Geoffrey: Were you talking to someone, Paul?
Paul: No…No, Professor… talking about myself to myself. Just empty words.
Geoffrey: But, I want you to talk about yourself, except to a room with people in it.
Paul: You know Duke is going to give me notice.
Geoffrey: Silent for a beat I don't think there's any notice to be given, Paul.
Paul: Then you're ahead of me, my man. You sure you still want me to come to this class of yours?
Geoffrey: Why would I care about that? To me you'll always be one of the greatest soloists in the greatest orchestra in jazz…and the hero of the Newport Jazz Festival. No-one can ever take that from you…ull É So can I tell my class you're going to grace us with your presence this afternoon?
Paul: I've come to understand, Professor, that grace is a matter for the almighty, or, in my case, the piano player… Will there be many people?
Geoffrey: Oh my yes. We've had more kids sign up for this class than any other. Even after all this time, they all know about Newport.
Geoffrey leaves. Paul stands and raises his head as if to remember.
Paul: They all know about Newport… but, I can barely remember anymore… did I really once play that way?
Paul stands and plays several warm up arpeggios. A smiling Ellington approaches him.
Ellington: This is your crowd, Paul.
Paul: (Cool) What gives you that idea, Duke?
Ellington: Don't play with me. They were yelling for you between each number in that first set. How many of your friends are out there?
Paul: Fifty or so that I can see, counting family of course.
Ellington: That's quite a turnout.
Paul: Maybe more. We're only an hour from Pawtucket. This is home, Duke.
Ellington: We won't get back on stage until midnight. Do you think they'll stay?
Paul: My friends will stay till dawn to hear me.
Ellington: Then we should reward them. Let's do something fun. Let's do Diminuendo and Crescendo.
Paul: Smiling and cocky Aw Duke, I'm not sure I remember that one. I may have to go find the manuscript.
Ellington: Don't goof with me …not tonight. That's the number where we play the blues and change keys. Number 107 and 108.
Paul: You're the one who changes keys, Duke. I'm in B flat all the way.
Ellington: Alright then. I'll lead you in and you go until you're out of air.
The Ellington piano chords which lead into the great solo sound and Paul steps into a spotlight and plays the first minutes of the solo with growing intensity. The playing continues as the spotlight goes off and the scene ends.