i should know by now...bring a pen and paper if you're going somewhere to hear live jazz. inevitably, i find myself frantically searching for any writing utensil and often go home with napkins full of words stuffed in my pockets. in today's modern world i reached for second best, the notes application on my iphone.
i don't know what it is about jazz that seems to spark the creative but it's as though upon hearing the first few notes, i don a beret and a cigarette and find myself in a dark corner of a parisian cafe scribbling wildly. saturday found me in avanche in a warehouse jazz club that shared a parking lot with an r.v. dealer, listening to the harlem hot seven jazz band playing instruments as old as the songs. now there's the kind of jazz that makes your foot involuntarily tap and causes you to lean in close and then there's the jazz that inspires even the most stiff to dance. this was the later of the two and quickly became one of my favorite evenings in switzerland. i closed my eyes for a moment and when they opened it was 1924 and i was standing on the boardwalk in atlantic city wearing a cloche and smoking a cigarette. (thank you boardwalk empire for keeping these images fresh in my subconscious)
just as the evening was drawing to a close and it was becoming clear that i would have to return to 2011 the president of the club announced that one of the local restaurants was there with free soup for everyone. standing in line, bowl in hand expectantly awaiting a ladle of soup i made plans for a saturday night in february to return to avanche and subsequently to the 1920's.
photo: emerson merrick