The closest I ever came to meeting Charles Mingus was when I followed him up the stairs of the Jazz Workshop in Boston on a wintry Sunday afternoon. He’d just finished his matinee set, and as he headed out to Boylston Street in a belted, butterscotch-brown leather coat, he slipped on the icy sidewalk. My friend Nic and I made a quick grab for his arms to keep him from going down, and once the startled Mingus righted himself, he offered us a nervous thank you. The ensuing moment did not seem right for an adoring line of introduction from either of us, so we moved on. I would see Mingus several times more in concert, but that was the closest I got to the great musician in person.