Music: Dixieland Revisited

Three stocky men, looking more like merchants than musicians, line up on the little bandstand in front of a three-man rhythm section. Unsmilingly, almost diffidently, they raise clarinet, trumpet and trombone; the trumpeter stomps out a beat, and the air pulses to the ambling rhythms of Dixieland. The place is Nick's, in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, the time is any night of the week (except Monday), and the trumpeter front and center, blowing bright and raucous phrases where they count most, is Phil Napoleon himself, back at the jazz business after two decades.

Brooklyn-born Napoleon, 51, thinks of his return as a kind...

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