By Dave Mckean

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But the sweat also reflected mild anxiety. In the second half of the concert, Granz was going to introduce Oscar as a surprise JATP guest artist. From Montreal, Quebec, the Canadian pianist would make his American debut in the country’s most illustrious concert hall. Only a few American jazz fans, in or out of the hall, were aware of Oscar and his music. Granz was one of the rare exceptions, having heard Oscar play in a Montreal club a few weeks earlier. He found Oscar’s jazz vigorous and thrilling.

When he returned home, he tested the children, making sure they had kept to their assignments. The kids who passed Daniel’s test got a small nod of approval. There were no kisses or hugs, just a nod. If a child failed, if Daniel decided the kid hadn’t practiced enough, Daniel hauled out a belt and gave him or her a spanking. Daniel was a stern piano teacher. Though he told his friends how proud he was of the children’s talents, he rarely let the kids know his feelings. He wasn’t a demonstrative man, and when he was home from his grueling trips, he liked nothing more than the simple pleasure of smoking his cigar and reading his newspaper.

Through all the demands, porters were under orders to keep smiles fixed on their faces. They were also expected, as black men waiting on passengers who were almost exclusively white, to put up with racial insults. As far as porters were concerned, it was insulting just to be called George time after time. “George” was the name pinned on black porters through an insensitive custom dating back to the beginning of North American rail travel. Every porter would rather have been asked his real name and addressed by it.

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