I tend to hold myself back from making requests of jazz musicians — you know, “would you play _____ in the next set?” because I often see the brief flicker of pain in the hearer’s face or — in more severe cases — note the sudden attack of temporary deafness when someone requests a favorite song that is in some way not right for the band, the venue, the collective mood.
But even though I don’t come from a family of aristocrats — at least in the sense of official genealogies — I have this small fantasy of having the band play “songs I like.” Of course this is specious, because the reality of improvisation is that even if I dread another rendition of, say, MUSKRAT RAMBLE, a fine band can make me forget my initial dread and even reproach myself silently for those vestiges of judgmental small-mindedness.
This brings us to The Ear Inn, always a good thing. In my previous post, CONN MEN AT THE EAR INN, I shared some of the delights of that evening.
Here’s another, taken from the second-set-EarRegulars-and-friends celebration. (If you ask, “Celebrating what?” one answer might be, “The joy of being alive and making music for people who are listening to it,” not small things.)
The Regulars were Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Scott Robinson, trumpet, metal clarinet, tenor sax; Chris Flory, guitar; Joel Forbes, string bass. The Visitors were Dan Block, tenor sax; Simon Wettenhall, baritone horn.
When they assembled in their corner (sprawling out in a line past the telephone booth) there was a momentary pause for thought: what should they play next? I forgot my cautious self and said aloud, “JAZZ ME BLUES?” And because the stars were in the right alignment and the EarRegulars know I am Friend, not Foe, it was taken up as the common theme. Part Bix, part Eddie Condon, part Lester Young, part Goodman Sextet, part Basie at the Famous Door 1938 — all the parts coalescing into something romping and glorious — at an especially sweet medium tempo (with breaks and riffs and a real surprise at 8:47).
Come on, Professors, come on and Jazz Me!
I heard the music of the spheres at The Ear.