SmokePosted: November 13, 2012
Despite the nor’easter that followed on the heels of Sandy, I braved the first snowfall of the year last week to check out the ‘round midnight session at Smoke. I hadn’t had a chance to wear my snow boots yet, except once and very briefly last year’s Halloween weekend when it unexpectedly snowed, so I was feeling rather excited about getting bundled up. I purchased those boots along with several thermal shirts for an East Coast winter while still back in Cali, in faith that I would get into grad school in the city. And I did, but that winter didn’t come.
No longer merely the brunt of small talk, the weather has been noteworthy with life-threatening storm conditions one week and t-shirt and hoodie wearing afternoons the next. I do now feel justified for checking weather.com every hour. You never know what’s going to happen.
Saxophonist Roxy Coss led the late Wednesday night session with pianist Chris Pattishall, bassist Dave Baron and drummer Luca Santaniello. Dave and Roxy accompanied the toilet team on our first assignment to the Vanguard and Smalls back in February so it would have been a JAZZ TOILET reunion had our men’s room correspondent KMac made it out that night.
KMac felt bad he couldn’t come and not only that, he also felt ‘unmanly’ at my calling him delicate and weak sauce for not being willing to schlep his drums uptown in the snowstorm after his gig to hang. I’d like to issue a formal apology and say for the record that our men’s room correspondent conforms to conventional notions of masculinity with his diet of copious amounts of red meat and his robust physique. But make note that he can be particular about his moisturizer, as his skin is sensitive.
Smoke has one restroom directly to the left of the stage, which the horn players linger in front of when they’re not soloing. It’s a quaint restroom with a celestial lamp hanging from the ceiling that matches the décor of the rest of the small rectangular club. I appreciated that the door lock is the kind that tells you whether the restroom is red for occupied or green for vacant.
There is another door to the left of the restroom door marked off for employees. Dave told me that when the room gets really crowded, he has to go through the door and down the nearly vertical stairs to put his bass in the back. Can you imagine trying to walk down a ladder with an upright bass in your hands?
Ahmed from Saudi Arabia tells us how to say, “Where’s the restroom?” in standard Arabic —