December 28, 2005


As JR and I were leaving the Bottle, in no haste, in case Vandermark5 decided to fire up again, even though I could tell by the way Vandermark and Fred Lonberg-Holm clasped backs and patted one another and said "Good one, man" (I was close enough to hear the exchange, same close enough even to tell you Vandermark uses Rico Sax Reeds gauge 3 1/2 and drinks his Sprite on the rocks) I could tell it was a night. I said to JR "Whenever I come to these jazz nights here, I feel like I am setting myself up for an "I Saw You" missed connection in the back of the Reader" JR finished the sentence " Me: guy with beard, wearing poncho--" I add: " you: only girl at show."

I know I mentioned I cry at Brotzmann shows, and I can tell you I choked up every song, everysong of the second set of the V5 tonight, and even with all the just cause for such, maybe you'd think I was a natural jazz crier. I ain't. I'm not some sissy, getting salty faced everytime someone free skronks. It's because something deep in my center gets corked during those solos and the good feeling holds, and when you see them play you know better that god is within both them and you.

(The first time I heard the Vandermark5 was during a two month period in which I was a clerk at a shitty record store in Hollywood called Arons. I worked with a bunch of used up record store lifers, Pete Stahl from Wool and a couple of raver chicks who knew nothing about music but enough about flirting. It was the last normal job I worked. No one there believed that I also did PR, that I had my own business and that I even worked with bands whose records we stocked in the store. Like, literally, everyone thought I was crazy and making it up. I asserted "If I was going to lie about something, why would I lie about working with Tsunami?!" Anyhow... we got a promo in to the store of Single Piece Flow and it was so burly and explosive, after half a play, I was "banned" from playing it. That and the Azita solo album that came out at that same time, were the first things that imbedded the wondering about what the fuck is going on there in Chicago? Noise deliverence right there on Highland and Santa Monica. I ate donut holes in the parking lot on my breaks and plotted a way out.)

About 10 days ago, JR, who lives above the Bottle, laid into Miles and Matt and I about how Vandermark is a living legend, the man plays like 37 times a month, plays the Bottle almost every week sometimes, and we never go see him, and how we are assholes for not paying 5$ to go see dude. He said "What if you, every week for years, had the chance to see Ornette--and years later you'd feel like a fool, missing the chance!" -- he's like David Sedaris' dad in that one book, lecturing the kids and making them listen to Brubeck sides, but less convienently snarky.

So tonight, we went, and yes I feel like King Asshole--he called it-- I have lived here for nine years, since the night Brian Case turned 21, kiddos, and fucking A, I have only seen Vandermark thrice times. Woe be unto me and my poor judgement. The V5 hit all the right and wrong notes and siezed and purred and oh, that reassuring diesel hum of the tenor--we felt it. Heavy.

The whole night was qua holy, and maybe I was lilting Catholic already. Spent two hours holed up in at a corpo-cafe talking about god with some womens I roll with. On the street I said goodbye to an old friend I hardly see ever these days, she comes out only occasionally now, revivifies in between rounds of cancer treatment. Four cancers last year, hysterectomy, double masectomy and a thyroid out. I told her my sister was home from Spain and she said "Oh, I want my ashes scattered around the Guell fountain in Barcelona." I wanted to shush and reassure her not to talk like that, you will live forever, but she's 50 and has had a multitude of cancers and is allowed to strike mortality in casual conversation.

We talked about Vatican and it's gaudy monuments to mortal (papal) men, and embalmed nuns in Montreal, and how she hated Catholic church as a child because of the dead waxied face nun in the glass case. I told her why I can't stand mass. Because they say "Christ Jesus." ( Fucking semantics, as ever). "It's like how gym teachers and coaches only call you by your last name, it makes me think the priest is taking attendance, saying his last name first. "Christ, Jesus" It sounds all wrong." Later, over the hot drinks, my friend Margaret talked about praying like you already got what your prayed for, "I didn't come up with that one. That's direct from the big guy." I love it when people call god "the big guy" -- like he's a CEO or the manager of the Red Sox. She also recited most of The breastplate of St. Patrick from memory, the part that's the hymn. I like the part about doing god's work in the world, but the part about "spells of women, smiths and wizards" is a bit much. Smiths? Like Blacksmiths? Wicked blacksmiths crafting evil horseshoes or garden gates? "Spells of women" is to be expected, as it was, like, 1150 AD, saints were weary of hoodrats in hoe frocks and round the way girls in the square, spelling them, and it was natural to be weary. Wizards are a given; wizardry has been known through the ages as totes problemic for Catholics in particular.

And yes, did I mention the weather? Tiny Lucky Doppler Radar is most pumped let you know: it is a blazing 46 this evening at 11 or midnight. The snow has melted into ashy colored heaps and left the ground uncovered, exposing slick leaves, empties and months of frozen dog turds now thawing. It rained and not snowed. Return to Bike Week is now on day two. I know these soft winters are bad for farmers and crops, but I like the solitude and slow pace of the bike and it's baskets and pedal-powered lights more than the 49B down Western, which is like Bellevue on wheels, but with a $2 cover. But now, it is above freezing, and the streets are ours again.

Posted by Jessica at December 28, 2005 02:10 AM | TrackBack