Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Great Jazz Quartet in the Neighbor's Backyard

I've never been much of a party person. In the thirty or forty years I've been on antidepressants and other bipolar drugs, alcohol has been off my radar. And since I'm the only smoker in any group these days, I never really feel welcome or comfortable. Plus, I'm a wallflower. I try to find someone I know and sit next to them and then never move. I don't mingle. So, parties hold no charm for me anymore.

This party was different. These are neighbors I'm very fond of, and it was their ten year wedding anniversary. That would have made it worth an appearance, a card, a bouquet of flowers. But the real draw for me was the news that there would be a jazz band. It's always been my favorite music. The party was scheduled from 7:00 to midnight, but the jazz was from 7:00 to 10:00. They set up under the portico in front of the garage, which is fairly close to my bedroom window. The band started assembling and tuning up at 6:45. I was curious to see how Cyrus would do, since in the warm-up phase the bass was a bit loud and the drums were popping. But the moment they swung into It's Wonderful, I knew Cryus would be fine. It is, after all, the music I listen to when I write. It's the music of my entire life. It's my soundtrack.

They covered Charlie Parker, most beautifully with I'll Remember April and Cherokee. They played the Coltrane versions of Giant Steps, and Lush Life. They played Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments, Miles Davis' So What. And they did some of my favorites by Monk--Straight no Chaser, and April in Paris. The drummer was a kid who looked about nineteen. The bass player was the only one who looked like an old jazz player, the keyboardist was another kid, and the sax player looked all of twenty. He played tenor and alto sax plus flute. There was not a moment when they missed the swing, the timing, the mood, the feeling of the songs they played. They were great. And the best thing of all is this was their first gig together. I have rarely heard jazz players play so tightly and with such swinging joy.

And the food was good, too.

4 comments:

DCup said...

Sounds lovely! Isn't it nice to get out and live a little? We've been making more of an effort and I'm glad when we do.

Even if MathMan has to force me to get off my ass and leave the house...

enigma4ever said...

omg....Charlie Parker, Miles Davis all outside your window- wow...that is heaven..wow...
( don't know if I the Greta Garbo of the hood would have gone- but I might have fallen out the window listening ;-)

Good for you....really...

Utah Savage said...

Hey girls, it was divine. A perfect moment that lasted three hours. There were children of all ages and I thought, wouldn't it be nice if this is the sound and sight that turns on some primal love of great music. The most fascinating thing for me is that there are that many very young jazz musicians with that level of sophistication as well and chops to improvise together on such fabulous music. And it was the first time they played together. They covered all the songs I love, especially the love songs, the great jazz standards. These are session musicians. They played together for the first time at the party last night.

Enigma, it's interesting to me that there are so many of us whose first impulse is to say, "No, I vant to be alone." Anita and I share the Greta Garbo sentiment as well. I had too much of life out in the world, and now I want to be alone. Either I have sharp corners or other people do, so I keep to myself and somedays get a bit done.

Randal Graves said...

Jazz. They just make it up as they go along.

Nothing finer than some good tunes. If you can avoid listening with vast gobs of other humans, so it's good this shindig wasn't too ridiculous.