Monday, April 11, 2011

At the Jazz Club

The prizes (five chances for a dollar) are always on a long table at the back of the room, near the entrance doors. I was checking them out -- pair of CDs, bottle of wine, a presentation box of two huge, round soaps -- when all of a sudden there was a sizeable woman, right in my face.

"What happened to Andy Rooney?" she bellowed, practically up my nose.

I'm sure that my eyes widened and that I took a step back. "Er, Andy Rooney's in his '90s.."

"So'm I!" she snarled.

"and, er, maybe he decided to retire?" (feebly)

"No one ever tells me about Andy Rooney," she muttered and turned away from me.

I could hardly wait to get back to the table and tell Bob (Brodsky, a great American and a great author) and Richie (none of the preceding except American.) Naturally, they wanted to see her so my eyes searched the big room. And there she wasn't.

I decided that she was probably in the bar, throwing back shots of Jack Daniel's and asking about Andy Rooney because she never did reappear. (And you may be sure I was on red alert.) She could also have just wandered in from the street, looking for Andy Rooney.

The feature band was The President's Jazz Band, led by Paul Goldman, the drummer. The band's name is kind of an inside joke. The jazz club president is Paul Goldman. He's wonderfully inventive. He walked up to the empty stage, looked around and said, "The band is here somewhere ... I guess I'll have to start alone and hope they'll show up..." and went to his drums. He sat down and --

From the back of the room, Barry Anthony, trumpet, appeared and began playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" as he walked toward the stage with the other six band members following him, whaling away! It was totally cool and no other band has thought to do it.

They played "The Sheik of Araby" and we in the audience figure that it was a salute to current gas prices.

The tuba player starts the band for this number and I heard him say, "How fast do you want it?" (tempo) and the band looked at him like, "Bring it on!" and off they went, at breakneck speed. It must have been triple time! It reminded me of "The Minute Waltz" for it's speedy pace and brevity. Andy Rooney would have loved it.

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