So, yes, my blog posting has been pretty thin…and that’s fine.
Family is more important. Job is more important.
But here’s a tid-bit from a trip I took out to NY recently in late Summer. It was business most of the time, unseasonably warm with a hurricane passing by (far enough away), but I did get a chance to go out one evening…here’s a story about it.
I love the Boston Red Sox–I married into a family from Boston, Massachusetts, so what can you do? And I went to Harvard, so…you get it. I’m a late convert–and the Giants/49ers aren’t what they used to be (in the 80’s when I was growing up, Giants just didn’t have it then either). I love the Red Sox. Even losing 9-1 in the playoffs, I love em’.
But I was in NY recently on business…and I forgot how often synchronistically delicious moments happen here. Saw Sadao Watanabe at the Blue Note–first time he’s been here in 14 years–he’s older now, he’s a japanese legend, national treasure…and reminds me some of Bossa Nova style Stan Getz with shades of be-bop going on (Charlie Parker-esque, yes), the band was soulful, and sad and funky and Brazilian. I was at the bar, started singing the words in Portuguese to “Chega De Suadage” AKA “No More Blues” and the woman next to me is also simultaneously belting it out as well in perfect “Fala Portuguese?”, playing the piano riffs on the bar top.
Gal Costa will be playing there in a few weeks! When Gal performs this live song in Brazil, everybody sings along–it’s a great group sing along song…minor section, modulates to a major sounding section, returns back to minor at the end. Great tune.
My neighbor at the bar: from Sau Paulo. Totally by chance.
The first set was good–they even kicked out a drunk Japanese retiree that had ‘YAKUZA’ wanna-be written all over him–he was yelling at one point–and Japanese usually don’t yell like he was yelling. I didn’t see any tattoos, but the Japanese around me chuckled when I mentioned the ‘Y’ word. IREZUMI MIERU YO! ‘CHAO YO…MIEN’.
The bouncers at the Blue Note are well dressed, but they’re still effective. He was out so fast–that bounce alone was worth price of admission.
So I’m talking with the Brasileros/as (sp?) outside for half-a-century as the 10:30pm set line (a long que of tons of Japanese going to see a national legend) is filing in. 2nd show is REALLY packed.
Should I see the 2nd set? Will Sadao ever visit again? Will I ever get another chance? Heck, I’ll probably going surfing in Baja or Brazil before I ever get a chance to go to Japan and see this guy (and his band was spot on, also).
Bar is standing room only. Tables are sold out. At least they let you actually sit on the window facing bartop…at least at this Blue Note. They wouldn’t do at the Japanese Blue Note clubs in Fukuoka, for example–not classy. But…NY is different.
Suddenly, I’m chatting lightly with some salary men from Japan— stationed in America for their company–they’re next in line.
Bam. The short door man comes out, says a table is open…$10 more.
10$ more? Deal! I grab the two Japanese guys by the suit collars (rather gently actually), say ‘we’ll take it’, rush on in, and we’re all giggling and hi-fiving…because it turns out to be the best (as in “elevated” and close in proximity to stage–the best view in the room!) table in the whole house. Someone missed out by giving it up. Some one didn’t know what they missed. If you’re reading this blog post (and you aren’t)…LOL. I can’t believe you chose not to be there.
And the 2nd set was amazing and hot…I couldn’t look at the food (I counted—I ate one french fry). I was mesmerized. Sadao would be ending a song, and already playing the head for the next song…lots of standards. And the band would jump in. The African djembe drummer from Dakar was playing funky and real and loud and technical but with spirit… as he sang African prayers in and out of a song, and the band was talking to each other, and solos were twice as fast, and the pianist was sounding like Joe Zawinul (older “Heavy Weather” Weather Report–he had the phaser/Fender Rhodes sound perfect on his Motif keyboard), then playing Herbie Hancock-esque the next.
We all went out after for late Shabu Shabu–every other place was closed. These Japanese guys knew the place better than me, the American. KOKUSAITEKINA NIHONJIN…AMERJIN WA…WAKARAN’.
That night…I was back in Japan in the 90’s…a humid night in Tokyo, or Fukuoka, or Osaka in the Summer…for just a couple of hours. Maybe it was just after one of my gigs…or just before. Memories persist. Isn’t that nice?
New York is transformative.
I love the Red Sox.
But I must say…I can find just about anything there in NY. I love New York.