The practice of rhythm and blues horn players (quintessentially tenor sax players) to literally get up on the bar during a tune and walk it from one end to to the other, riffing and honking. Typical in the 1940's and 50's, it was deemed a display of machismo and virtuosity.
A friend of mine reported seeing tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet walking the bar in St. Louis. He moved along. playing and kicking over drinks as he went. One patron, objecting to the endeavor, pulled a switchblade knife out and stuck it into the bar in Illinois' path. When Jacquet came to that spot, he peered over his horn at the knife, turned around, and continued to play as he retraced his path.
by guyfromtheday August 12, 2010