Saturday, January 13, 2007


Since there is little discrepancy between weekends and weekdays for me, I found myself ready for bed around 12:30 am last night without having gone out. I tend to get pretty bored if I'm not in a productive mood and go find some trouble to get into, but last night managed to slide by without consequence. I walked downstairs to brush my teeth and a housemate of mine was putting on his coat. He told me he was going to the West Village to check out a late night jazz jam at The Fat Cat. I told him to wait 2 minutes, ran back upstairs, put my contacts back on, grabbed my coat and headed out with him. With the subway ride to 6th avenue and a pretty mild walk, we found ourselves outside the basement club in about 20 minutes. We pulled on the door. It was locked. A sign on it said "Fat Cat is Closed." I was about ready to bail and go get a drink at a bar around there, but my friend mentioned that there was a place nearby, another dim jazz basement that had a show going on that night. We walked downstairs, payed ten bucks and walked into the tight little room. It was sardine packed. People clutching their jackets in every corner of the room, squeezed onto bar stools and chairs that lined the wall. I was feeling a little scratch in my throat so I ordered a Jameson on the rocks and a Stella for my friend. Everyone in the room was hushed, and from what I could gather over the heads in front of me, someone was was playing upright bass, and another on piano. Now whenever anyone goes to a non-pop-rock-commercial-etc show, their description of the music tends to be a lost cause with me. You cant do justice to that sort of shit by trying to put it into words, so all I'll tell you is that it was the first time I had really FELT jazz. I've heard all sorts of it all my life, I mean its really a true american art, but its never really touched me like an amazing singer-songwriter or composer... It was maybe 2:15. I was standing there in the aisle, crushed between a few people and the bar when this guy looking back over my shoulder pushes me forcefully aside. I wanted to call him out on it, but figured a respectful environment like that is not the appropriate place to argue. I understood it though when three tall black guys force there way through the thick crowd, one of them holding a kick drum pedal. I lose them behind the heads in the front, but when the bass and piano stop, the three of them go at it. I'd never seen a drummer use his instrument like this. He sat so calm, but used every inch of his drums. The rims, the hardware. I dont have the knowledge of theory to explain it. I looked these guys up when I got home. They'd all played with the greats, had been all over TV, composed movie soundtracks, were signed to Blue Note, sold thousands of records. This was all out of love... The feeling in the room picked up. the crowd hung on every note. Time passed by unnoticed. I could just picture Dean Moriarty in a chair by the wall with his eyes closed saying "yes! yes! yes!"... Finally I looked at my clock and it was past three, I had already been ready to sleep a few hours back, so we headed out, waited for the train in the delirious 6th street station while a completely fucked-up girl in checkered high top vans asked everyone where they were from, what they studied in school, and cackled at us like we were in on her joke.