Monday, March 9, 2015

At the Jazz Club, Sunday, March 8, 2015

By the time we got there, the first set of pick-up musicians was ending.  They finished and Paul, the club president, came out to address the audience as the next band began setting up.

He said that he was sorry to have to tell us this, but he'd just gotten word that So-and-So, a long time member and supporter, had died.  Brief moment while we all thought about that.  Then Paul held up a hand and said, "As a farewell gesture," turning to the musicians now ready to roll on the bandstand, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and gave a downbeat, and the band set off in a mournful, slow-beat dirge.

For the first time ever, I really "got it" about the New Orleans custom of following the coffin through the streets with sad solemnity and then, after the graveyard honors, to speed it up and prance back to the city.  It all made sense as the first made tears in my eyes and the second made me want to dance.  Not a bad way to go, eh?

The featured band was a group that had appeared previously called Nannette and Her Hotsy Totsy Boys.  But hold!  What's this?  An obviously new banner that read simply "Hotsy Totsy Band."  No mention of poor Nannette, who nevertheless was shaking and shimmying for all she was worth in her silver flapper outfit complete with miles of dangling beads and she tilted her silver cloche hat saucily at us and winked. 

The boys (hotsy or totsy or not) wore black slacks and black t-shirts printed to resemble a tuxedo.  They upped instruments and away they went on that great classic "All That Jazz"  Nannette belting out the lyrics with great enthusiasm.

Later on, Nannette issued parasols (eight in all) to audience members and got them all up, parading in a circle around the room, twirling their parasols.  It was all rather mindless but Richie, whom she had tagged, marched around and around with grim determination. 

Nannette's next interaction with her audience was this - she roamed the room with a big handkerchief and a silver flask.  When she spotted a bald man (not difficult with this group) she's stop, talk and then "pour" a drop from her flask on his bald head and then polish it with the handkerchief..  This was all supposed to be lighthearted, mad cap even! fun, but it wasn't particularly. 

All in all it was what would have been a real treat on a third-rate cruise ship, but bless their hearts anyhow!  They were having fun and so did we.

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