My introduction to real jazz in the flesh—and lots of it—took place in Copenhagen in the early fall of 1938. Fats Waller was touring Scandinavia and my mother, bless her, got us tickets to one of his concerts. I hardly knew any English; at not quite nine years old, I had only recently switched from German, having left Vienna in the wake of the Nazi takeover of Austria, to Danish. But that was no problem.

  I had never even seen anyone remotely resembling this mountain of a man in constant motion, or heard anything like the music he produced with his hands, his voice and his whole body. Fats, as he might have put it, was mesmerizing, and treated me to a matchless sendoff to the land of jazz. I haven't left yet.
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