Charlie Young, a well-known saxophonist-flutist around town, was operated on recently for a malignant tumor on his neck. Doctors say it will be months before he can play again.

Thus Thursday's Charlie Young benefit from 9 p.m. to closing at the One Step Down lounge.

Among the two dozen or so musicians already committed to appear are pianists John Malachi and Shirley Horn, saxophonist Buck Hill, vocalists Nap Turner, Mary Jefferson, Gail Dixon and Ronnie Wells, the T Street Band, pianist Bill Harris' trio, the Marshall Keyes Quartet and bassist Keter Betts.

"I just decided, knowing how hard Charlie Young has worked, that all the musicians he's worked with would be elated to do something like this," said drummer Steve Williams. "So I started calling people."

The Norfolk-born Young has packed a lot of activity into his 29 years, winning awards with his high school band, studying classical alto saxophone at North Texas State University, occupying the baritone saxophone chair of the U.S. Navy Commodores and playing with numerous D.C. area groups, including the Howard University Jazz Repertory Ensemble and Williams' combo. Young recently presented a program of the music of Sidney Bechet at the Smithsonian Institution.

The outpouring for the benefit, said Williams, reaffirms "the fact that the community of Washington musicians is thriving and supportive of one another."