“Brad Terry took a rowboat oar he found and bolted it to the wall, next to the stairs. It serves as the handrail he grips going between the first and second floors, whistling a flurry of notes over the chord changes in his head.
He didn’t plan the oar, the music or much else.
“Everything is improvised in this house,” Terry said. “I don’t think there’s a right angle anywhere.”
He found the wooden oar amid broken light bulbs and other rubbish about 30 years ago inside the three-car garage in Bath he bought to convert into a home.
From jazz to daily things, improvisation is where Terry is comfortable. But nearing his 78th birthday, the unknowns ahead and thoughts he might hang it all up are tinged with anxiety.
“Maybe it’s time,” said Terry, whose expansive career can be traced back to the suggestion of a Connecticut neighbor, swing bandleader Benny Goodman, that his mother buy him a clarinet.“