|In 1959 I was standing in front of Birdland with Don Ellis, who was my roomate at the time, after a gig. The "Prez" (Lester Young for those who don't know) and Illonis were doing a two some at Birdland. While Don and I were standing in front of the door on top of those famous staires, Illonois Jacquet came over to us an said, "Why do they like him (The Prez), so much more than they like me?" He sounded almost in tears. Don and I assured him that he was a great player and that we thought the world of him.
It is amazing that such a talent was insicure about his position in the world of music. I think maybe that's why he was such a great player, he never settled into beleiving that he was the best and had no where to go to improve. He was always trying to be better.