Wow, is it over already? Four weeks? Man, it just fleeeew by. Welcome back, dawg! OK, so here’s the skinny on what went down while you were gone (oh, did I mention your bronze-like tan would put George Hamilton to shame?). The furnace guy came and tinkered around in the basement for three hours before realizing he was in the wrong house (the bill is on the large pile of mail on the dining room table). We were quite confused by your complicated TV/DVD/Satellite set up; the annotated list of directions were helpful, but unfortunately we erased all of your Tivoed episodes of “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF” and quite possibly launched missiles in Nebraska. We hosted a small dinner party, marred slightly by the fact that one of the drunken guests used your cake-icing tube for. . .well, we’d rather not get into it. Your dog ran off, (but periodically returns to leave an organic “gift” on the front walk) your pool furniture is fulfulling its destiny by being actually in the pool, and someone severed your sprinkler hose. (We apologize for the smell, but it was here when we moved in. Really.) Oh, and remember Chuck, your crotchety but loveable groundskeeper who was like a member of your extended family and dispensed his homespun wisdom like grampa once did when he bounced you on his knee? He’s dead.
Seriously though, we’d like to thank you peeps at Greenleaf Music for allowing us to move in and blog about our Left Coast scene.
One has to hang on to a sort of skewed sense of humor when one follows jazz and its experimental tendrils here in the SoCal desert (where nothing grows, and the stuff that does has to be gnarled and full of spines to survive). Lately, since approximately 2006, it seems things have been particularly grim as the attention to this music and its accompanying supportive infrastructure has lessened to an all time low drip — it’s as if jazz might blow out like a doused flame if the wind blows too hard. (As we are writing this, we are being surrounded by brush fires. Yay!) This tone was summed up quite well last week by the L.A. Weekly’s lone jazz writer, Brick Wahl, in a preview for a Jesse Sharps show at the Jazz Bakery:
So good to see the great tradition of Leimert Park jazz alive and kicking. Bit of a shame, though, it has to do its lively kicking out in Culver City, a long way from Degnan Avenue. Or that Sharps has to come all the way from Germany to get the ball rolling. Leimert Park is probably this town‚s last living jazz neighborhood. Central Avenue is but a memory brought brilliantly to life once a year at its jazz festival, and the downtown and Little Tokyo scenes exist only in fond memories and some books. The older days are utterly gone, no memory, no history, no names, nothing. But Leimert Park is still here, charming and lovely and full of life. Now the music of Horace Tapscott echoes over at the Bakery while the spirit of Billy Higgins inhabits a too-often-empty World Stage. So sad. Perhaps some of our local politicians whose election posters still grace the walls around there will deign to take notice. Or perhaps not. Jazz is a hard-luck story, no matter who wins elections.
We now move our tentpoles back to Downbeast. We plan to return the favor to the Greenleaf Boys (not to be confused with the obscure 1940s bluegrass duo The Greenblatt Boys) sometime in December/January by inviting Dave & Co. over to Downbeast for some more blogroll-buddy cross-pollination. (Yes. We. Can.)
Downbeast Out! (kiss noise, door shutting)