Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Monday, January 27, 2003

 

Picture this:


Guy feels sick and ill for going on 5 years. Wakes up tired, sleepy, unfocused. Founded three companies, was a VP twice, helped take a major company public, now it's all he can do to struggle into work and work on 9 million lines of source code.

That guy was me.

The Jazz Lab


A great jazz septet plays here at 120 Union St in Santa Cruz. I met their session's drummer, Beth Goodfellow, on the way in.

Me, buzzing from having just done my first radio version of Postcards from the Bleeding Edge. I read two stories, gave some good news, and had an inspiring 25 minute dialog on the air with Doc Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manefesto. Doing this was great for my soul, and cheaper than my old cigarette habit... my mom and I had dinner afterwords. We were operating on different planes of existence, so she went home... and

I bounced into the place formerly known as the Jahva House (now Union 120), exchanged parking spots with this drummergirl and snagged their beat up piano for my set. I fought with the thing for a couple tunes, but nailed The Morning Light, and closed with my usual The weight. I only got two people to sing along, but that was good enough to calm me down and then:

The Jazz Lab came on.


Oh man...Every sunday I could be here typing and listening to this band instead of sitting at home, typing, and listening to nothing.


Chel Sheffer - Sax

Jeromie Clark - Trombone

Kent ("who won't tell us his last name") - Piano

Pete Novembre - Bass

Beth GoodFellow - Drums


It started to register with me that Beth had told me - not just that she was a drummer that showed up early for a gig (always a good sign) - but that: "She'd recently won an award called "Sisters in Jazz" from the International Association for Jazz Education website, goes to school at San Jose State, and got to play in Canada..." She radiated competence and enthusiasm, and me, I was just radiating in all directions, and wasn't really receptive - but now, oh, man, it registers now, about three songs into the first set.

She's an on, really clean, crisp jazz drummer, with subtle, well controlled rolls, great dynamic range, she really listens to the rest of the band and accents it where it counts. Wow, she's just filling the room with this subtle cymbal sound as I write this. The rest of the band is pretty damn good but I have a thing for women drummers... besides the rest of them are too engrossed in transmitting their total music, heads, bouncing around as they sit out other solos, to use mere English on me. I keep beaming brainwaves at the sax guy but he's just too into willing the music along to look up. I'll keep at it until the break, maybe one will come by and I can flesh out this entry.

OK, finally got the trombone player's attention.

The band is really tight. Solid harmonies and tempo changes - oh, man, nobody does Reincarnation of a Lovebird, by Charles Mingus anymore, oh yea! God that was good for me!

This blond lady just walked in and begged them to play another song...

I can't type anymore, I gotta close my eyes and

listen


interlude of orgasmically good music excluded

ok, they slipped into and out of double-time with a little struggle, playing from charts, still, wow, great stuff...

Last track Lain Carter, fe fi fo fum - awsome close, the band takes a break.

Chel, the bandleader, took a few minutes to talk with me at the break - "Band hasn't really settled down - been together for two months - given enough time... will play anywhere... " he's more into speaking sax than english... tells me that they will be doing an original his old trumpet player wrote - "kleodle" - his dog would yowl along with him, so that's what the song is about. Beth wanted to read what I wrote and asked that I stay the second set... so I relaxed, and listened more. random notes:

Oh, man, Beth's got a melodic sense on her solos, bringing the snare out harmonically, bending the head with one stick, playing that stick with the other stick, great technique... it's so good to get live music three chairs from the front row...

Later on their's gonna be some Coltrane - Grand Central -

... time passes, some phone calls go by, I spend a lot of time with my eyes closed and my foot tapping...

...bassist is playing chords, so is the drummer....

Everyone can't find the lead sheet to "Virgo"...

They close the set with Fables of Faubus - another Mingus tune... naw... they had to fit grand central into the last 2 minutes of the show... the clean up crew gets some massive moving incentive, the trombone player's blowing his lips out, this is a damn fast song, they are blowing out the three people left in the place, the bassist is fully of energy, making his lips flatten out as he reaches for the high notes, everyone's smiling and grinning and spinning - the music's busting out into radiated space -

they hit the end and Jeromie Clark staggers off the stage...

"that just summed up the evening, I've had a little bit too much coffee..." he says.
Ah hell the place is closed, but the music just goes on, the piano player kicks in with something I know and that part of the band that was packing unpacks again and blips back into bebop.

Eventually, everyone staggered outside... they talked about gigs, I talked about some odd but wonderful places to play, like Lupin. Beth and I chatted, and here I type now, beset by insomnia and Murphy's law - there's a distressing lack of computers here with line input capacity, and a firewire cable in hiding...

Jazz Lab every sunday night at the place formerly known as Jahva House, at 120 Union Street, Santa Cruz. Yea!

I guess I'll have to convince the new owners to get a wireless internet connection....

Jeromie Clark recomends - Miles - Davis - Kind of Blue - for a transcription of Round Midnight. Anybody out there already got one they want to share? Pete Novembre is part of of the Om Trio, which plays on Wednesday at Moe's Alley. Beth GoodFellow is looking for jazz gigs in the bay area.

I've spam proofed the email addresses above. To send these individuals mail from the links above, strip off the .NOSPAM part of their email address.



 
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