The Press: The Cool Square

As the wail of jazz drifts smokily through San Francisco bistros, the lean man with the horn-rimmed glasses and a grey-flecked crew-cut walks up to the bar and acts like the squarest square from Endsville. He orders milk. But from the Red Garter to the Purple Onion, not an eyebrow lifts. Everyone knows that on matters that count—a beat and a lyric—Columnist Ralph Gleason. 42, has a taste so cool that he turns out much of the solid reporting and comment on the convoluted world of jazz.

Busy as a one-man combo, the teetotaling...

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