Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Doorman's Diary 4.13.12

We have two young tenors who play at the club regularly. In their mid-20''s, both are insanely gifted. I was talking with one of them before he played tonight. "Swear on your mother's breath, you'll never blow town (knowing I was asking the impossible)." He's clearly destined for a larger market. He said he's not going anywhere for three years, then he's off to grad school for his MFA in jazz studies. He loves to teach and he loves to play. Two paths that could run parallel or diverge. I'm not sure whether to be jealous of his raw talent and clear destiny or feel pity to be plagued with singular passion. There's no escape. He is a jazzman. And tonight, we get to hear him blow his heart out. The club was filling. There was a loosely-formed group of a half-dozen or so sitting at a couple tables up front. It was hard to tell who was with who since at any time one or more would wander up to the bar or someone would enter the club and join them. At one point, I admired the jazz hats that three of the men wore. One was wearing a hideous plaid fedora that sort of went with the clothes he had on, but sort of didn't. As I observed him throughout the night, it became clear that he was pulling it off. The ugly hat worked. The band was into a Hank Mobley song, "This I Need to Be," when the leader noticed the other tenor sitting in the crowd. After the song he yelled to him, "Have your horn handy?" (which is like asking "Does the Pope wear underwear?"). The tenor man retrieved his tenor from his car trunk and stood next to the other young tenor buck. They launched into a deliciously long version of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. They played together flawlessly, then took tuns for solos, which showcased their individual styles ant talent. In the way they played together it was crystal clear they like and respect each other -- two jazz amigos. They pushed each other to exceptional playing -- and the rest of the band too. The outstanding keyboard player pounded out one of his most complex and stellar solos which made my jaw drop even further. If we all died during this song, it would be debatable whether heaven could be better. 

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