Especially when “home” is defined loosely as the places where you are made to feel welcome.
The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street in New York City) is just such a place. I know all about it — from the warm hello I got from Victor, who knows all there is to know about English gardens to the friendliness of Jim and Grace Balantic, to the hot jazz that the EarRegulars played that night.
The EarRegulars began as a conversation among four jazz friends: Jon-Erik Kellso and Matt Munisteri, co-founders; John Allred and Jon Burr, charter members. (One of the musicians that night essayed the appropriate joke: “Three Jo(h)ns — no waiting!”) And Harvey Tibbs and Dan Block, faithful and true, came to join the festivities. Here’s some of what I basked in that night:
Jon-Erik pointed out that August 29, as well as being Charlie Parker’s birthday, was also the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He has a special fondness for New Orleans, and called a number of tunes that had connections to that city.
Here’s a song that leaps into your lap and says YES — ‘DEED I DO:
JUMPIN’ AT THE WOODSIDE where, if you look closely, you’ll see Jon-Erik playing air trombone (to fit in with the general sliding going on) and hear John Allred sing a few high-pitched countermelodies — everyone having a wonderful time:
MANDY, MAKE UP YOUR MIND began with the verse — played as a duet for trumpet and guitar — before the jamming on the more well-known chorus began:
NEW ORLEANS, written by Hoagy Carmichael, sung by Louis and Jimmy Rushing, among others, got a beautifully pensive treatment:
THAT DA DA STRAIN went back to the New Orleans Rhythm Kings — recorded first in the very early Twenties and still a very lively piece of jazz history:
And the way that everyone wrapped up the evening was a collective improvisatory musing on the question that continues to be central to philosophical and ontological inquiries, HOW COME YOU DO ME LIKE YOU DO DO DO (I Ain’t Done Nothing To You)? It’s such a deep issue that the EarRegulars took a long time to consider the issue and its implications:
And the final bit of goodness: