Somethin’ Jazz ClubPosted: March 27, 2012
Thursday was another prematurely warm night where I needed to go on a brisk walk and eat ice cream. Except I was fasting sweets, so instead I watched KMac consume ice cream with a plastic fork from a nearby halal cart. I also waved a fork around, in case he felt self-conscious about holding two half-gallon tubs of Edy’s on the steps of Columbia. When our assiduous men’s room correspondent stirred to go watch a movie at home, I got up to head to my assignment at Somethin’ Jazz Club (To be fair, he shed snare drum etudes for four hours that day, while I practiced zero hours).
Located East of Midtown, Somethin’ Jazz is not convenient to get to from the Upper West Side. The longer we waited for the third train transfer, the more I felt that the train would come any minute because we had already waited so long, so we kept waiting a bit longer. But the amount of time you wait for something does not necessarily correlate with its estimated time of arrival; there’s no sense in expecting that the thing I’m waiting for is closer to arriving, the longer I wait. After twenty minutes or so, it was announced that the E train would not be coming at all.
We managed to get to the club to catch our classmates Olli Hirvonen (guitar), Frederick Menzies (tenor sax), Jeff Koch (bass) and Philippe Lemm (drums). Olli billed his quartet as a “Nordic jazz” group, presumably because with the exception of Jeff, members hail from Finland and Denmark, in addition to Holland. Actually, Jeff is the most exotic person I’ve met since moving to the city—a rare native New Yorker (and I don’t mean from Long Island) in a metropolis of jaded transplants and hopeful immigrants.
If Nordic jazz is synonymous with the ECM label, which showcases European interpretations of the originally American art form, which, in turn, began as a synthesis of African and European music, what do you call it when you have Americans striving to play in the ECM vein?
Of greater interest was the elevator up to the third floor, where the club is situated. The smallest public elevator I have been in, my friend Pat wondered how Jeff got in there with his bass. Upon stepping out, we ran into a Japanese man looking for a lounge on the second floor. I thought the elevator would lead him directly there but we couldn’t find the down button to get the doors open. Naturally, I proceeded to assume that this elevator was of the sort that only travels up, but not down because it’s easier taking the stairs down.
Make sure to try the elevator, if you visit. Someone demonstrated later that it actually does go down.
“Jazz elevator!” “Why not jazz gas station?” People have been mocking my work in such a fashion. Make fun all you want — I won’t be the one caught without toilet paper in the stall.
Olli teaches us how to say, “Where’s the restroom?” in Finnish —