So I goes into this food joint called Pod and they’re playing jazz; not just the usual kind these places air in the name of appearing ‘cool’, but some deep stuff featuring an alto player well into his improvisational flight – which makes a change from Blue Note or bossa.
And once I’d ordered my breakfast I tried to figure out who was playing. Bird? No, the sound was too clear. Art Pepper? Possibly. Could have been Konitz...
And I got a little frustrated at not recognising either the tune or the player. But then, the solo lasted most of the duration so...you know...there was no tune to recognise.
Anyway, waiting for the grub I contemplated striking up a micro-chat with the young black girl behind the counter who, naturally, looked bored. I was going to ask her if she enjoyed or simply tolerated this kind of music. But, you know, in all my years of shocking shop assistants with sudden outbursts of communication that go beyond those required for simply purchasing anything I’ve learnt that they can sometimes, well, quite frequently, be so surprised that it renders them speechless.
Suppose I’m kind of sociable like that. Never angling for a favour, just a quick link with humanity.
Well, I kept quiet, carried on trying to ID the player, failed, and felt a bit pissed off because, hell, I’ve written a damn book on this music, haven’t I? Still, as I’ve said many times, I’m a fan, not an expert (as you’ll know if you’ve read the book).
I’m guessing it was music policy rather than workers’ choice, that Jazz. Let’s face it, the chances of anyone in there opting for Jazz is remote. Nobody under 40 likes Jazz. In fact, from my thorough research into the matter, I’ve only found a handful of people who do like it. Although, to increase my circle of friends I am thinking of joining the Lady Gaga fan club. Members of which I do not want to know.
I wonder what those with no interest in Jazz think of walking in to buy food and being treated to several minutes of improvisation? I really wonder what goes through their minds...’What a racket!’? Or ‘Christ, I hope she hurries up with that roll’. More likely than ‘This is fantastic!’. Of course.
If there is a form of logical progression in this strange phenomenon I expect to walk into one of these places in, say, a couple of years, and hear Cecil Taylor. A stupid idea, I know...