It's 29 years since a young man from Altrincham in Cheshire enrolled at the Leeds College of Music.
Three years later he was unleashed upon the London jazz world and saxophonist Alan Barnes has been plying his trade, honing his craft and doing all those other things a plain hard-working, no-nonsense musician does.
Of course, such a gimmick-free, hypeless course of action is not likely to get a musician the highest of profiles.
That Alan Barnes is now getting the recognition he so strongly deserves is due to over a quarter of a century of hard graft. And a good dollop of jazz brilliance.
Barnes is one of those glorious players who transcends the often rather false divisions that are created within jazz - although he may have a stronger following in the mainstream, he has increasingly bashed down the boundaries between those who think nothing very exciting happened after 1950 and those who are dedicated to music thought up within their own lifetimes.
You can hear how far he has come tomorrow night from 8.30pm in the ideal setting of the Biggin Hall, Binley Road, Coventry. A mere £8 on the door gets you a classic upstairs pub gig from Alan and his regular quartet of John Donaldson on piano. Andy Kleyndert on bass and Spike Wells on drums.
Alan also has a terrific new album out on his own Woodville label. I'm sure there will be chance to pick up a copy. More info on the gig and the venue from Coventry Jazz on www.jazzcov.co.uk or call the Biggin on 024 7645 1046.
* Summer festival time is upon us and this weekend there are opportunities north and south of Birmingham as well as a bit of blues in the centre.
First we go north to Lichfield for the 17th Real Ale, Jazz and Blues Festival. As you can see from its title, Lichfield Arts know their audience's priorities.
The gigs start tomorrow with The Big Chris Barber Band, and there is blues from Paul Lamb & the King-snakes on Friday.
The real meat, though, lies in Saturday and Sunday sessions where a number of bands each play two sets, so you can catch them all in the afternoon and all again each evening.
Included in the line-up are the Gilad Atzmon Quartet, the Theo Travis Quintet, the Harry Becket All-Stars, the Steve King Big Band and Dennis Rollins Badbone & Co.
The venue is Lichfield Rugby Club, and for the full programme go to www.lichfieldarts.org.uk or call 01543 262223.
* Head south for the 21st International Oliver Cromwell Jazz Festival, which takes place at Upton Upon Severn, Worcestershire, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Headlining acts include The Big Chris Barber Band and George Melly & Digby Fairweather's Half Dozen.
* Meanwhile, Birmingham celebrates its twin city with something called Experience Chicago, starting today and running till Sunday.
There is all sorts of action round the city centre including free lunch-time concerts in Chamberlain Square.
On Friday there's the Dr Teeth Big Band with Chicago-born lead singer Stephen Steinhaus, and on Saturday, from Chicago, it's acoustic blues singer Crystal Bowersox, with the Bobby Woods Trio providing the more mellow jazz sounds.
There is more info on www.birmingham.gov.uk/chicago
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