Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Doorman’ s Diary: 11.2.12

I am The Doorman at a jazz club… a jazz club that occasionally features the blues. Tonight is a blues night. Headlining is an all women blues band—a quartet. Not a fluffy pretty girl band, but women of substance who have experienced hard knocks. They are beautiful. The drummer lays down a merciless barreling straight ahead freight train, supported by the chest-throttling heavy bass beat. The keyboard plays rhythms that define traditional blues patterns but twists and bends them to suit her needs. The lead guitarist demonstrates on every song that she is not a lightweight. She bends notes, tickles the strings, and makes her guitar moan when least expected. At the end of one exceptional sweaty song, the black keyboard player says to the white guitarist, ”Whoa girl! If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you’re black!” Three of the four musicians sing and back each other up on vocals. They sing with conviction about cheating, betrayal, and demanding, like Bonnie Raitt does, to be loved like a man. The club fills comfortably with blues fans, newbies, and a few misplaced jazz aficionados. An independent filmmaker presents herself at the door, looking for a piano bar. She loves the look of the club, but we don’t have the big gleaming grand piano. She is thoughtful, interesting, and full of creative ideas. I realize the privilege of being The Doorman is that I have the good fortune of meeting her. The downside of being The Doorman is that I can’t abandon my post and enjoy learning about her film and her life. The Studs Terkel in me got squelched. In between talking with the smart filmmaker there was the ebb and flow of customers, including the leather motorcycle couple that enjoyed road house dancing when they weren’t swigging beer and Jack, and the gaunt smoker man who wears a dark, duster coat. I let duster smoker man in for free since he’s an irregular regular. He appreciated the generosity at the door, which got me thinking that I was long overdue to give the good man a break. 

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