Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Doorman's Diary 5.11.12

You know the phrase "slower than molasses?" That phrase describes the traffic at the jazz club tonight. Fridays are always iffy. It can be packed or tumbleweed dead. I stood at the open front door and watched the cyclops beam of the elevated freight train traversing our corner of the city and half expected to see a couple of rail-weary hoboes roll out of a train car and drop down to street level and wearily make their way to the door in search of a shower, can of beans, and soft earth to unroll their bedrolls. There was minimal activity outside our door which meant there wasn't much happening in the club. An irregular regular showed up, paid the cover, and was heading to his stool at the bar. I gently chided him on always leaving early to get home for his beauty sleep. He said, "Yeah, I do try to get to be bed around midnight, 'cause I need to be up early to get a call from my 91-year-old dad. He calls to let me know he’s lived through the night ... and I guess to make sure I'm still here." I thought, "You're a good man" and I think I even said it. Even though the crowd was slim, the quartet played exceptional. The tenor was playing superbly tonight and adding tasteful finesses -- which I noticed especially when they played the Eddie Harris / Les McCann classic, Cold Duck Time. Later when they were on break between sets, I mentioned that it seemed like he was stretching the musical balloon a bit. He admitted that when it’s slow, it allows everyone in the group to take risks they wouldn't normally take. I began to think, "Isn't that what good jazz is all about... someone in the group taking a risk and the others adapting to push it further or to reign them back in. No wonder I enjoy the music so much on these occasional tumbleweed nights.

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