When I arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 2002, it took me a little while to get on my feet. I started taking my horn around town and getting to know the scene, and quickly met Bishop Norman Williams and B.J.Papa. I remember seeing the both of them at Les Joulin and CafĂ© Prague, and I sat in with them at Rasselas down on Fillmore, and again at the Washington Square Bar and Grill. B.J. was always really encouraging and nice to me, his playing authoritatively eccentric. In October of 2003, one of the last times I saw him, he stood up for me and comforted me when I was in a really tough situation. After being told to “get up there and be a female musician” on a gig where the bandleader introduced the band by joking with the audience of about the quality of female players, I was humiliated and upset. As a new player in the area, the situation was doubly hard to take – because the audience was primarily the top players in the Bay Area scene, gathering for an informal birthday celebration. I walked off the bandstand, and saw B.J., who calmed me down, and made me feel better about my decision to stand up to the bandleader and refuse to be treated in that manner. It meant so much to me, and I am sorry I never really had a chance to tell him thank you.
Sarah Manning
Alto Saxophonist/Composer