The occasion that brings us to Arizona is a live jazz performance.
Escaping Chicago in the winter months, Greg and Judy rent a nearby Fountain Hills house, from a musician friend, and play every Saturday night at a close by Fountain Hills eatery. They are joined for the gig tonight by a friend from Seattle, Tom Wakeling, who plays bass with Lee Konitz.
The restaurant is full and Chadd, my jazz teacher, invited me to ride over from Albuquerque to enjoy their free three hour performance. It is one thing to talk about jazz, but the best learning is listening to players do it who know how it is supposed to be done.
The trio covers the Great American Songbook, takes requests, and play tight, yet loose, in a small corner of the Italian restaurant.
The accumulated professional years of the group nears a hundred and this is just one gig of many they have played in their careers. How do you put a value on their art that is beyond most mortal musician’s ability? Are these player’s skill sets any less complicated than those of doctors, lawyers, athletes, wealthy businessmen?
Musicians making a living doing what they love, though, is still hard for them to complain about. There are many people who should be making oodles of money for what they do, but aren’t.
Even better than the music is going out for an after closing bite to eat with the gang after instruments have been packed away and the place shuts down for the night.
Jazz musicians, God’s that they are, still eat the same kind of food the rest of us do.