Monday, April 18, 2005

What a Difference a Week Makes

Well, back to the grind. And with a pesky cold to boot.

A week ago today, I woke up in Chicago with a full day ahead of me, while those I left behind in Denver woke up to a bunch of snow. I went to Lou Mitchell's for breakfast and made my way to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. They lost, but it was still fun. Cubs fans are really into the game. And after walking around for a while I came to a conclusion: Chicago likes to smoke. Everywhere you turn someone is lighting up or taking a drag... all I wanted was a hot dog. Kind of nuts considering the little 10 foot by 10 foot "smoking sections" at Coors Field... a far cry from home to say the least. And even though the home team lost, the crowd was more into it than any I've ever seen. I think if I grew up in Chicago I'd have been a baseball fan...

Then we walked to Aaron's for decompression and a nip of whiskey, followed by a walk through Lincoln Park to the lake. Twas a windy day, and kind of chilly, but still quite beautiful... the view of downtown was spectacular. Plus, I kind of like water, to tell you the truth.

Ate some Thai food and went to the Green Mill on Broadway and Lawrence. The place used to be a speakeasy, and the Patricia Barber Quartet were playing on that particular Monday... They made two requests that I thought were pretty outlandish (especially in Chicago, but what do I know), and I decided Patricia Barber must have had some clout: no smoking, and no talking during the performance. No smoking in Chicago??? Guess it happens, but at a Jazz club? Ok. But the kicker was the no talking during the show rule. Granted, I've been to shows where I wished that were the case, but it seemed like an impossibility; people like to talk, even if they have nothing to say! But the audience complied and I was able to see why she had such clout--they were really quite amazing. They played some old standards and I'm thinking some originals (judging from some of the lyrics she was singing). And all four of them were so into it and so solid. I realized something. Self-consciousness has a way of draining the life out of music. Look at all these self-obsessed pop bands, out there looking good while putting out crappy music. Then you have these amazing musicians, eyes closed and oblivious to how they look--only paying attention to the sound, goddamn what they looked like! Patricia let out some odd groans, while the bassist hummed along with himself, and I couldn't care less... they rocked (as much as Jazz players are allowed to rock). The drummer played so many solos, and kept the rhythm so well in the process, that I about lost control of my... uh, toe tapping. This is not to say the guitar player was bad--he too was amazing--but his brilliance was eclipsed by the whole... of course, I went home before Patricia let the trio have their own set, so maybe he shined after I left. But I had to sleep before my roadtrip to Ohio...

Took a cab back to Billy's and passed out with a tune in my head. And woke up to a rainy day and a long road ahead...