HIP...in a square world From the '40s through the '60s I was heavily involved in the jazz world so my remarks about it are not those of an outsider permitted to observe this life - I lived it. I was a musician, composer and broadcaster. I never expected to be outside that world, as I in fact am. I first became involved because my high school library had a subscription to Down Beat magazine and its competitor, Metronome. These journals celebrate a little understood world peopled by musicians, fans and critics who were privy to musical experiences that would never be shared by people under the spell of other forms of sonic art. Now they teach it in school. Hipness is an element I discovered through my love affair with Jazz Music but it is a component of all groups. Old people are hip to certain experiences that cannot be had until the right time; gamecock fanciers are hip to what real courage consists of; backstretch people have intimate knowledge of class; we are all hip to something. They never quite get it. If you haven't walked in my shoes... It's a Black Thing, you wouldn't understand. Maybe not but I believe I understand your feeling of understanding. To be hip and tolerant is similar to experiencing the joys of privilege without the sociopathy of exclusivity. Having shared the joy of being moved by the music of Santeria, I get an extra boot from seeing your wonder in the discovery that certain drumming affects you as deeply as it did me, and when I avoid the jealousy that accompanies possessiveness, I feel better. Sure, the Grand Canyon is diminished by the presence of a hundred thousand tourists but that's life. I can choose not to trample the fragile ecosystem of the Galpagos and though I might dream of standing at the South Pole, I have learned to accept others' vivid descriptions of the feeling without contributing to the pollution there. One thing I have noticed is that the shoulder standing phenomenon is very apparent in music and athletics: "unbreakable" records fall and the Ives Piano Concerto that was almost unplayable becomes the entrance exam to Juilliard - and Super Sax plays transcribed Charlie Parker solos more cleanly than the originals. There was a traditional clarinet solo on "High Society" that was supposed to be difficult, later Lee Collins said, "shit, now they can play it on trombone."