Brad's older brother Tom is the king of Governor Livingston High School in New Jersey; and Brad, who plays saxophone with the school band, has been so held down by the relationship that he flubs a Talent Night with Tom's friends' band because Tom shows up in the audience. Though Brad had made Tom's staying away a condition of filling in for the band's own saxophonist, Tom is furious when Brad, unnerved by his appearance, tips the mike pole with his sax and becomes the clumsy Talent Night laughing stock. From that night on Brad won't touch the sax, and even resigns from the high school band. His healing occurs when he spends a summer in Albuquerque with his 30-year-old Aunt Sheilah. Sheilah lives in a trailer with a ping-pong ""game room,"" has a 22-year-old boyfriend named Bud, and works nights as a bartender when not performing as a country singer at the same place. Brad isn't big on country, but he and Sheilah do a little singing at home, and then he learns that Bud plays in a jazz group. Before long Brad is sitting in on their Thursday jam sessions, accepted as an equal. Brad's big moment comes when this group lands a big gig and their regular saxophonist breaks his collarbone; then Brad's parents pay a surprise visit--with Tom, who still haunts his nightmares--and Brad must wrestle himself into line to go through with it. Brad's acceptance in his new milieu has a good-natured, wish-fulfilling appeal, though both the local color and the ""kid brother"" theme are pretty heavy-handed.