B.B. King Blues ClubPosted: October 8, 2013
If there’s one thing I wish more jazz concerts had, it’s an arc governing the performance that unites the sequence of songs into one cohesive piece. With the exception of a few consummate performers, musicians tend to play one song after another, prefaced by some generic introduction that ends with “I hope you enjoy it.” That usually gets me thinking, “I hope this is the last song.” While every concert certainly does not need to be planned according to the golden ratio, I would appreciate the band making an intentional choice about the way their performance flows, instead of defaulting to a linear, static model.
John Scofield’s Überjam Band, whether by default or due to the nature of the music, upheld the jazz tradition of stringing tunes together with Avi Bortnick (guitar/samples), Andy Hess (bass), and Tony Mason (drums) on the first day of autumn. Scofield’s mouth opened and moved, as if he were singing and not his Telecaster, wailing through guitar solos and providing contrast to the ambient and at times hypnotic mood of the long set. My friend Adam informed me that Scofield has been using the same Ibanez for decades and only parted with the guitar for the Überjam album/tour. Albeit untouched, the Ibanez was displayed on stage, likely to fulfill an endorsement deal.
I looked around to the bar in the back and to the dance floor in front of the stage, where a small but growing crowd stood, many holding up phones to record video and take photos. I looked across the cramped communal table into the clueless libertarian eyes of my men’s room correspondent KMac and wondered how we are able to be friends and work together. Truly, JAZZ TOILET is an equal opportunity employer.
I put KMac to work in photographing the men’s room at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill while he complained that I’m a tough boss. I’ve been called worse.
The men’s room had two urinals and two stalls with toilets, one of which is wheelchair accessible. The women’s room had four stalls with one wheelchair accessible. The photos were taken before doors opened so they do not show the lotion and candy that the bathroom attendants maintain for tips, like in its sister venue, Highline Ballroom. B.B. King’s genial Drew showed us the bathrooms in the two dressing rooms backstage as well. The larger dressing room’s bathroom had bigger square black floor tiles instead of the colorful little ones in the other three. All were clean.
The venue is located in the heart of Times Square, half a block away from the subway station and across the street from Madame Tussauds wax museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium. Their dress code discourages shorts, though it didn’t seem like it would matter, and the conscientious waiter discouraged us from ordering the fried green tomatoes, which we ordered anyway.
Moses from Malawi translates “Where’s the toilet?” into his country’s common language, Chichewa —