Sunday, August 19, 2007

The countdown to the birthday day date with my father began with a trip to the barbershop, where I was promptly greeted with a, "Damn you are black as hell". Honestly I've been getting that a lot since I returned from Miami, but I guess I'm used to it at this point. I was ridiculed about that, the fact that I went with a lady, and the fact that my favorite team was the Eagles. You never really realize how much you miss barbershop harassment, until you actually step foot in there and experience it. From the barbershop I headed to the store to pick up a card, I went hope to take a shower, and then I headed out to meet my father at Blues Alley, at an insanely early hour.

I arrived at Blues Alley around 6pm, which was exactly 30 minutes before I was to meet my father. I wanted to send a note to Terrence Blanchard, in hopes that he would give my father a shoutout during the show. I wrote a brief note and gave it to one of Terrence's people, and just hoped for the best. I then sat down right in front of the stage, ordered myself a Perrier, and waited for my father to arrive. To be honest, I was a bit surprised he wasn't there already, as prompt as he usually is. I was even MORE surprised when he called me and told me he was running about 15 minutes late, due to Beltway traffic. We both had forgotten that there was a Washington R**skins football that night, which basically clogs up all the highways in the area. So I patiently waited for my father..

As I sat waiting for him, I noticed that most of the crowd was old and white. There were some young white couple, some older black groups, but mostly the crowd was old, and I'll spare you my views on that, but I did notice it. There was a group of young black kids my age, but I found out later that they were family members of Terrence Blanchard, not necessarily jazz fans.

Anyway, my father strolled in wearing some player type vest, and looking unusually spry despite the fact that this was his 57th year on the planet. I immediately ordered him a Perrier, and he looked at me and said, "Rashad, you are 32 years old, if you want to drink, you certainly can." Part of me wanted to immediately order shots of Patron(to get in the zone), but I stuck with Perrier. Plus my friend and I had gotten QUITE smashed the previous night, so I wanted to stay clear and lucid. We ordered our dinner, and the proceeded to have a good talk.

We talked about the trips our entire family had taken to Blues Alley in the late 80s and early 90s. We saw Dizzy Gillespie, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, and others that we couldn't remember. We talked about how my father would have the family there dressed up, and sitting front and center, so the artists could see us, and afterwards we'd meet the artists face to face. Besides that we talked about women, jazz, family, and of course sports. The subject matters with my father and I rarely change, but that doesn't make the feeling any less rewarding at all. Plus for me, the fact that I can take my father out, and have him listen to the music he loves is a damn good feeling. I don't know about anyone else, but I 'm eternally trying to please my father, and the few times I am on the mark, it is feeling like none other.

Anyway, once Terrence came on, both my father and I were entranced. He played music from his new cd entitled, "A Tale of God's Will: A Requiem for Katrina", and he played some other original compositions. The band was tight, they took a few chances on stage, they made each other laugh, but most of all they played damn good jazz..better than I had heard in a long time. There was this one somber song he played entitled "Funeral Dirge" that was especially moving..I'll link that one at the end of this blog. Everytime I looked over at my father, he was especially moved by the music, and that made me especially happy. Terrence played for 90 minutes straight, and I was a little disappointed he didn't shoutout my dad, but we had a time regardless.

Two funny observations: 1)There was a blind guy there in the audience, enjoying the show. Usually, right after a jazz solo, the audience is supposed to clap, and his applause dies down right after the next soloist begins. Well the musicians in Terrence's band would take pauses DURING their solos, so most of the audience knew not to clap. But the blind man had no such visual contextual clues to go on, so he was clapping at every pause, and after a while it was hilarious. Although the people he was with should have clued him in..2)I spent almost $35 on Perrier alone. The waiter kept bringing it over, and I was even asking for it, but my dad kept drinking, so I did too. But when the bill came, and saw that drank nine glasses of it, I wanted to complain and throw a fit. Pellegrino is way better anyway..but I paid the bill and kept it moving.

At the end of the night, my father gave me his customary hug and kiss, told me he really appreciated it, and we separated. Thinking about it, still makes me smile man. Now all that needs to be done is for me to get my father AND my brother out at the same time...i'm efforting on that one

Terrence Blanchard - Funeral Dirge

1 comment:

Sha said...

awesome..perrier is quite pricey while out dining..i saw some voss the other day and thought of u...then i picked up a pepsi..good time!