In Harlem, Bud Peagler's "Barbecue Lunch and Poolroom" (the home of Brunswick Stew), also serves as the meeting place and hangout for many citizens and organizations such as 'The Sons and Daughters of The I Will Arise Society," and also Mosby's Blues Blowers. It is also where Roscoe Driggers hangs out. Roscoe claims to be the world's champion cornet player, although he can't play a note, even a sour one. But when the chance to earn $500 for playing his cornet at the big concert held by the "Over the River Burying Society" arises, Roscoe signs up. Roscoe needs $500 in order to buy a beauty shop for his manicurist-fiancée, Zenia Sprowl. Roscoe makes plans for his buddy Sam Ginn, who can play a cornet, to hide under the stage and play while Roscoe fakes it on the stage. But Sam gets taken out by some dudes who have a bone to pick with Roscoe. No sweat, though, as another of Roscoe's musician friends, Willie Trout, sees this and takes Sam's place under the stage....with his saxophone.