The occasion that brings us to Arizona is a live jazz performance.
Escaping Chicago in the winter months, Greg and Judy rent a 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 Greg, Judy and Tom’s 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 plays standards out of the Great American Songbook, takes requests, and play tight, yet loose, in the small Italian restaurant.
The accumulated professional years,of these three, nears a hundred and this is just one gig of many they have played. How do you put a value on an art that is gone after it is played? They never play the same song the same way, and that, is something you can take to the bank. These player’s skill sets are not less complicated than those of doctors, lawyers, athletes, businessmen, but making a living is tough for most musicians. For all those who make it big, there are thousands of others working day jobs at the post office.
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 restaurant/bar shuts down for the night.
Jazz musicians, musical God’s that they are, still eat the same kind of food the rest of us do.