You see them at every jazz fete, in every jazz club or concert - a small group of fans who're unswervingly devoted to the music.
They are undaunted by rising prices for tickets and liquor and unfazed by shifting tastes for fusion and hybrid jazz.
They're not always found in the most expensive seats. But they're there - cheering their favorite artists, comparing notes with fellow listeners.
Some of these fans like Staffan Rosenburg concentrate on cheeking out the nightclub scene. Others like Douglas Moore (not the District city councilman) focus on collecting records and memorabilia. Another type is Ted Shell, a Duke Elligton Society member, who says his 600 78-rmp single records and 250 albums make up the largest Elligton disc collection west of the Hudson River. And there are people like Art Cromwell and David Giles, who're in the clubs and record shops regularly.
But few fans are like Morrison Hansborough. He's Practically an omnipresent listener. Percussionist Max Roach saw Hansborough at Blues Alley and exclaimed: "This guy follows me around!" Trumpeter Clark Terry says, "I'm never surprised to see him (Hansborough) anywhere."
Hansborough, a retired barber who worked in a shop in the U.S. Capitol for 17 years, digs festivals most of all. He went to the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and has been to every one since all 24 of them. He's also attended the last 10 Monterey Jazz Festivals. And he is planning to attend the Newport Festival in June.
Hansborough, whose grey-flecked beard, beret and dark glasses give him the look of a mellowed hipster, explains: "In the last 20 years festivals have been my thing. I don't get enough music at clubs. I'd like to see somebody put on a midwinter festival. It would help keep my ears sharp and get my neck muscles in shape."
He's been in the jazz life for most of his 54 years. "I was a real young kid when I started listening," he recalls. "Music seemed to do something for me. Music makes me feel free. The more you listen to it, the more you get into it. When Newport used to last only four days, I'd came back here so high - and I don't mean on smoke or liquor - that I'd have to go to New York to hear some more music."
Hansborough has a pocketful of stories about his heroes. He remembers Charlie Parker entering a dance hall in New york and another musician throwing an alto saxophone to him. Parker caught it and entranced the crowd by immediately playing a couple of hard-driving choruses.
Once, in a parking lot, a nemesis ribbed Hansborough about his love of jazz. Suddenly, Louis Armstrong appeared in the midst of their crossfire. "You let this guy alone," the famed trumpeter said. "He knows what he likes; and if he likes it, that's good enough for him."
He used to request Duke Ellington to perform his "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" so frequently that Ellington started calling him "Diminuendo."
"I used to be a pretty good gate-crasher," says Hansborough. "But I don't have my nerve anymore. I don't want to be skunked."
He hasn't lost many steps, however. In 1973, when saxophonist Sunny Rollins performed his memorable concert at the Smithscoian's Museum of Natural History and Technology, tickets were as scare as silver dollars.
But Hansborough knew where to go. When a newspaper reviewer picked up his tickets, there was the gate-crasher, saying "hey, baby, you got an extra ticket."
Beyond jazz, Hansborough's life is caught up with politics and sports. In some ways, he's a character who stepped straight out of Damon Runyon.
In 1976, before Eugene McCarthy selected his vice-presidential running mate, Hansborough served as a standin in the District and appeared in several walking tours.
While practicing his tonsorial trade, Hansborough used his influence to twist some congressional arms, persuading several to insert articles about jazz in the Congressional Record.
Hansborough's interest in sports takes him to all the Redskin home games and many out-of-twon contests. He also got hooked on going to the Indianapolis "500" in 1969 and he's been to the Memorial Day race ever since.
How can a retired barber whose part-time job now is shuttling rental cars, afford to hop around the country for music and sporting events?
"I have three or four months between festivals," he replies. "In between I have to sacrifice other things like steak and booze." The Jazz Club Lover
Unlike Hansborough, Staff Rosenborg focuses on club performances. And the contrast goes further. Balding, bespectacled, middle-aged and usually attired in tweed jackets or a blazer, he doesn't look like the ordincary jazz club habitue.
But, says Rosenborg. "My thing is very spontaneous. It's never planned. If my wife is a little sleepy and I put my little boy to bed, I sneak out. I don't want to make it seem as if I'm deserting anyone."
In the daytime Rosenborg, born in Sweden, raised there and in Switzerland, is head of the publications section of the science and technology division of the Library of Congress. His work involves the supervising of report writing and catalogong publications in a computer system.
But at night he's a serious listener and connoisseur, roving the noctural world of clubs abd jam sessions. Rosenborg is likely to pop up at almost any club but the Rogue and Jar is his favorite for intimacy and smallness.
"I just like clubs," says Rosenborg, cracking a slight smile. "I'm not into records very much. I listen mostly to WPFW. They have a lot more records "Jazz is important to me because it "I was at the Showboat one night and two young dudes said to me, 'Who are you anyway? We see you everywhere!' I told them I was there for the same thing they were." Clan Of Fans
Dentist Ted Shell is one of a small band of dedicated people who gather on the first Saturday of each month at the Omega Psi Phi House in the Columbia Heights section to listen to Duke Ellington records and tapes.
They also discuss the maestro's music, sometimes far into the night after the official meeting ends. These people - lawyers, doctors, government workers, a judge, housewivies - all are members of the Duke Ellington Society.
Shell 62, says he first became interested in Ellington just after he'd finished Howard University's dental school.
"I used to tape Ellington whenever he was in the vincinity," explains Shell. "A small group pf people all over the world did it and exchanges tapes with each other. Ellington didn't mind. Sometimes I had trouble with concert hall managers,
"I guess one of the high points of my life was when we gave a birthday party for him at my house in 1970. He and some of the guys in the band came by." The Mood in the Music
Elizabeth Whitlaw is a defferent type fan. She often takes some members of her family, primarily her two daughters who're in their 20s and a foster son. She says many of her friends are about the age of her children.
A consultant psychotherapist at Crownsville State Hospital, Whitelaw family and friends will often take off from their Chevy Chase home to listen to jazz. Before it closed recently, their favorite spot was the Showboat Lounge in Silver Spring.
"I feel as if I've lost a friend," says Whitelaw, "I feel as if something meaningful to me has passed away. I used to go by there after leaving a party or something like that. The last night was really sad. I miss it."
Whitelaw is also a record buyer. "Jazz is important to me because it lifts me," she observes, "When I get depressed, I listen." Jazz So Rare
Though she buys records, Whitelaw's collection is modest compared to those owned by Douglas Moore, David Giles ot Art Cromwell. They all have thousands of discs. And Moore goes a step further. He has old phonograms, the kind with the horn for the naster's voice, an Edison floor model with a windup handle and a cylinder player.
The third floor of the Northwest N Street home he and his wife share a book, records, tapes and photographs, storehouse of musical memorandum.
Some of his rare photographs include a shot of the 15-year-old Lester Young playing in his father [WORD ILLEGIBLE] He even has a megaphone once [WORD ILLEGIBLE] by Walter Page, the original [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the Count Basie orchestra.
Moore, 65, grew up in Dallas and went to school with saxophonist Budd Johnson (he has a photograph of Johnson talking with one of his early teachers, the late Portia Washington Pittman, daughter of Booker T. Washington).
A consultant to the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum for a jazz exhibition in 1968-69, Moore describes himself as a "serious jazz aficionado and likes to reminisce about private sessions in which he heard pianist Art Tatum or hotel dances in Dallas featuring Alphonze Trent Orchestra. Music, Music, Music
Cromwell, 34 and Giles, 20, represent the younger serious devotees. They like to do it all - collect records, attend concerts and clubs and talk endlessly about the music. Cromwell sometimes sits in for Russell Williams on the latter's "sound color and Movement" radio show on WAMU-FM.
He started listening at age 13 and buying a few records occasionally. Now Cromwell calls himself "a record store frequenter." He buys from importers and subscribers to international magazines.
A radio and television producer-writer-consultant for the Public Broadcasting Corp., he travels frequently. Whenever his job takes him he always checks out the record stores, especially for avant-garde jazz.
Giles, a lawyer for the National Association of Farmworker Organizations, probably has no peer in his zeal for accumlating records. He combs shops in the East on a regular basis. He's a fanatic for the work of the late Eric Dolphy and has managed to select almost everthing recorded by the musician.
They all have their reasons for listening to jazz. Whitelaw says it keeps from being depressed. Cormwell says he's helping keep alive the music of his people. Moore is dedicated to preserving the history of jazz.
Hansborough says, "If there could be a system where you could use jam as a stimulant, it would be great. It's economical and you don't have a hangover!"