Epitome of a jazz-cool night. Trio is exceptionally crisp. The drummer shows virtuoso competence beyond compare. He clickety-clacks the rim and under taps the cymbal all in a manner of maintaining the rhythm. The stand-up bass and electric piano aren’t laggards either. Later they are joined by a cool cat singer and then the kid on alto – both have wandered in to the club and are pleasant diversions, although unnecessary. The trio is that good and each song is passionately fresh. There are three jazz appreciators of note tonight. An early 20’s couple approaches me at the door but like frightened sparrows they flit away after I ask for the cover. “Hold on,” I command. “I’ll let you in free, but you must pinky swear that you’ll come back, if you have a good time.” They come in and clearly enjoy themselves, ballroom dancing to a couple of songs. When they leave they effuse as to how much they enjoy the music, like the feel of the club, and how they owe it all to me. “We’ve never had a door man pinky swear with us and make us feel so welcome.” I fight the temptation to burst their joy-joy bubble with a snide remark and surprise myself by saying something gracious like, “Glade to hear it… you two made my night.” The second guest of interest is a transgender individual. Broad shoulders and hands of a union steamfitter, this woman-man is clearly a knowledgeable jazz appreciator. S/he is earnestly happy to have found the club and is pleasant and likeable. She’s a relatively recent transplant from Brooklyn, so I connect her with a regular to the club, a jazz-loving truck driver who is also from Brooklyn. They were talking about streets they lived on and all the saints and sinners places they used to frequent. In the end, s/he’s giving him her business card and he’s saying “I’ll definitely call you and I’ll take you out for dinner.” I love the jazz club. Differences and oddities make no difference and people are liked for who they are. The last jazz fans of note had snuck in while I’m taking photos of guests for the club’s Facebook page. It is too late to collect a cover, so I don’t bother. As I’m leaving for the night, I ask if I can photograph them for the FB page. They’re a pleasant and friendly black couple, so I felt comfortable complimenting the young woman, “You look amazing,” I say. “Your blonde hair is remarkable and really flatters you.” And it does.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The weather is pleasant, so the door is open. I stand on the front step and enjoy body temperature breezes. I see a bicycle rickshaw slowly making its way up the inclining street that runs past the jazz club. As the rickshaw taxi makes it's way past, I notice three young women in the seat with two guys sitting on their laps. The driver is hauling five of them easily--some strong legs. A middle-aged man comes to the door and asks if there is dancing in the club, "My wife and I like to dance." I tell him that we're not a dance club per se, but that dancing couples seem to make do with open corners in the room... and "we welcome it, so come in." I move a small table just beyond the entranceway for dance space. They dance closely, eyes shut, with blissful smiles. I'm happy to see them happy. A pleasant night.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Easy going night. It seems like we were getting just enough people to form an open-weave crowd, which is respectable considering how dead the streets are. Minimal car traffic, several bicyclists whizz by, and a pair of ooh-lah-lay young ladies hobble past on their stiletto heels and wearing sausage-casing minis. I say hello to the pair but I’m considered nothing more than building ornamentation—a gargoyle—and my greeting probably registers as the wind burping. I guess when they get to their destination club they must just stand somewhere on display—like fly paper, hoping to catch the right guys. Back at the door, I’m trying to fill it so I let some in at two-for-the-price-of-one and others for free. A fun couple in their late thirties or early forties greets me at the door. The woman says, “I suppose you wanna see our IDs?” I say, “Damn skippy I do, although I’ve seen so many fakes tonight. Take that gray-hair guy at the bar. I know he’s under age but his obvious amateur-hour driver’s license claims he’s 67—what a scammer.” Since her birthday was yesterday, I only collect for him. While the night wears on, the band pulls out songs they haven’t played for awhile. I especially enjoy their version of Cannonball Adderley’s Jive Samba. As the end comes near, I notice four different couples each cocooned in worlds of their making. If it wasn’t so authentically sweet, I would have puked.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Intended as a symbol of spiritual devotion and modesty, the turban has become a design springboard for women’s fashion. A visit to Etsy.com—a website devoted to original hand-crafted items—and it’s easy to see more than 1,000 turbans, turban headbands, hand-knitted head scarves, turban twist-knot hats. There are 1960’s hot pink velvet turbans, vintage faux fur turban hats, turn twist-knot headbands forworking out, full head cover knitted turbans for chemo-treatment patients, and flirty, lacy turban hats for going out. Technically, a turban is a kind of headwear based on a cloth winding; there are many variations. A cool demonstration video shows how to tie a man’s Sikh turban. Styles vary according to the region of the world and religions. There are Kurdish, Afghan, Indian, and Greek turbans. There are also variations found in Western countries. In religion, turbans are worn by followers of Islam, Sikh, Rastafari, and Jewish faiths. Turbans have been worn for thousands of years. A style of turban called a phakeolis dates back to the soldiers of the Byzantine army.
The jazz club feels better tonight in comparison to last night. The jazz group is ready to play. They respect the music, jazz club, and audience enough to dress nice – ties and suit jackets. The club fills to a comfortable level. Jesus shows up and I charge him and his cute Mary Magdalene each a five buck cover. I felt bad afterwards, but I figure if he’s all-knowing he already knew I’d charge him and that it was done to help keep jazz alive. If it wasn’t the J-man himself, it was a dang good impersonator—tall, slender, long-brown hair, beard, and benevolent eyes. Somewhere in between the quintet’s versions of Miles Davis C.T.A. and Charlie Parker’s Scrapple from the Apple, the club had its first Sikh visitors--two couples. None of them wore turbans, but the women wore traditional head scarves. It was confirmed that they are Sikh because the guys’ names on their charge plates end with Singh. Singh, from Sanskrit for lion, is an essential component of every Sikh male’s name. Historically, this was so ordained by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699. So, here we are 313 years later and the head honcho guru’s name is embossed on Visa cards paying for jazz-loving followers’ drinks. Pretty cool.