A hard core blues night. Four weather-beaten dudes who know their howlin,' lead belly, muddy, Memphis, and pinetop. They have wrinkles. They have gravel in their voices. They is the blues. The keyboard player is a showman, bobbing, weaving, throwing his head back in agony. The lead guitarist knows his guitar like an English teacher knows grammar. He made it bend, howl, and stab to his bidding. The bass and drums were equally adept. The blues crowd is less refined than the jazz aficionados. They can be cheap and demanding. As The Doorman, I know. A short butterball woman and her boyfriend entered. She wears the pants in the couple and asserted that they should get in at half price. I corrected her illusion. She drank Cabernet and then bought blended shots for herself and a woman sitting next to her at the bar. She let out eardrum exploding whistles every time the band ended a song and stoutly stood gyrating her hips to the music (at least that appeared to be what she was doing). A blues singer joined the group for a couple of songs. I've heard her before and she's as exceptional as the members of the group. She belted out Dr. Feelgood and Gene Allison’s You Can Make It if You Try, which was matched later in the night by the drummer's snarling version of Hootchie Cootchie Man. A true blue blues night it was.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Saturday, February 9, 2013
The Republic of Albania which is the official name of the country is located in Southeastern Europe.
- - The Lynx looks a lot like a domestic cat but a little larger and patterns of a cheetah. This animal has long pointed ears and although has been extinct in many parts of the world, it still survives in Albania.
- - More than two thirds of the population is Islam. Other religions are Albanian Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic. This country is known for the harmony between the religions to the extent that inter-religion marriages are not only popular but a rule in some parts of the country.
We're both a jazz and blues club. Tonight there's an incredible all women blues band. They're middle aged so they've earned their journeyman's papers in life. So when they sing about being mistreated, there's passion there. The keyboard player with her Brillo pad snow-white hair snarled like a chained alley dog. Speaking of alleys, I could walk down a dark alley with the drummer and only she would emerge on the other side. She's a beast. They played some standard blues tunes—one of which transitioned into Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People. When they finished one incredible song, the bass player says, "Wow! We've never played that song together--I'm surprised we ended it so well." It shouldn't be a surprise, since they are all superb musicians. As one of them had quipped, "Unlike guy musicians, women talk--with these ladies, we all communicate.” The crowd wanted to dance, so every corner was filled with spastic footwork, hip wiggles, and gyrations. A gentleman with a well-trimmed beard and a mustache that hinted at a handlebar sat at the bar with a snifter. He has come from a theater performance -- in fact, his 53rd play he's attended within a year. He was enjoying the rhythmic writhing of one lass who noticed him noticing her. She signaled for him to join her. He obliged. I was afraid for Mr. Theater with his thick-knot tie and pocket-watch demeanor, but he surprised all observers. He did a unique halting touch, glide, swirl thing that suited him and somehow his dramatic flair complimented the shimmies and pelvic thrusts of the young woman. Don’t ask me how or why.... but it seemed to work.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
It happens infrequently, but it happens. We get a woman with Queen Bee Syndrome. I'm at the jazz club early chatting with the bartender before our night truly begins. The tender is tending a couple in their thirties who sit comfortably at the bar. The woman has switched from wine to a cosmopolitans when a group of young guys fresh from a tour of the microbrewery down the block stumble in with their tokens for free beer. She perks up as the seven boisterous guys occupy the stools across from the couple. They're joking, swearing, and intending to maintain the buzz started while sampling the brew from the tour. With her cosmo smile, the woman scans the lineup and hooks into one of their jokes with her own quip and cackle. This starts a quip-cackle exchange that she relishes. She has made herself the center of attention. She beams across the bar at them and says, "You guys are cute; I want to buy your next round." A couple of the guys stumble over to the couple and are chatting her up. After a couple of minutes they wander back to the group and return to their inanity. Sensing that the focus is fading from her the woman beelines it over to the drunken guys' side and singles out one guy and rests her hand on his chest while intently explaining something (quark theory or challenges to the Austrian economy?). I speculate that the plan is to incite jealousy among the other bucks with hopes of regaining the center focus. It doesn't work. She ends up back with her date or mate who retains a patient and indulgent smile, clearly understanding her adoration needs or enjoying the fact that "his woman is desired by others." Fortunately others start filling the club, their interest being jazz. The quartet features a guest tenor who excels. His playing is like condensed type--every note is there and played with fluid grace. They play Eddie Palmieri's “In Walked Bud” and Miles' “All Blues,” in which he competently plays the dominating trumpet role but with his tenor. They launch into Clifford Brown's “Sandu,” and he switches to his flute. The music was so invigorating that a couple of women got up and started dancing. The blonde with arms in the air was gyrating and writhing. I could imagine her in a mini-skirt on an elevated platform or a dangling cage--1960's style go-go dancer. For a night where our expectations were as low as the temperature outside the crowd pleasantly surprised us. Even the far suburban man who came from his downtown job to hear the guest tenor left with a smile on his face.