Hanging with the stars
Exciting doings tonight. We were out with Margaret, and ended up at Club Anton in Jack London Square, for a CD release party. Our friend John Harrington (married to the beautimous Becky Rice), along with his band, Stop Time, were announcing the release of their new jazz CD, Stop Time Generations.
Club Anton was a revelation to me–a very nice facility, serving a full menu along with the drinks. They bill themselves as Oaklands Premier Latin Club, and showcase Latin and Jazz music. There is a definite New Orleans flavor to the establishment with which we were quite impressed.
Stop-time is a musical term, and I was going to explain it and make you think I was smart, but I looked it up and still don’t understand it. From Wikipedia:
In tap dancing, jazz, and blues, stop-time is an accompaniment pattern interrupting, or stopping, the normal time and featuring regular accented attacks on the first beat of each or every other measure alternating with silence or solos.Stop-time appears infrequently in ragtime music. The characteristics of stop-time are heavy accents, frequent rests, and a stereotyped cadential pattern. Stop-timing may create the impression that the tempo has changed though it has not, Stop-time is, according to Samuel A. Floyd Jr., “a musical device in which the forward flow of the music stops, or seems to stop, suspended in a rhythmic unison, while in some cases an improvising instrumentalist or singer continuessolo with the forward flow of the meter and tempo. Such stop-time moments are sometimes repeated, creating an illusion of starting and stopping, as, for example, in Scott Joplin’s ‘The Ragtime Dance‘ and Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘King Porter Stomp‘.
Got that? Me neither.
Fortunately, you don’t have to understand the musicology to like the music. John got the band back together for the party, and the music was wailing. That sounds like a Blues Brothers movie, but the truth is that the other 3 band members live in Fullerton, where they met and formed the group.
John has been a professional musician since he was 12, but he’s smart enough to know it’s a precarious life, and so he makes his primary living as a music teacher in the Oakland School District. He is brilliant at being the buttoned down, rule following school teacher in the day and the long haired (metaphorically these days) free spirit creating jazz on the fly at night.
I always get a kick out of the drummer, Dusty. A few years ago this group played at a function at the Ruth Bancroft Garden; Dusty and his brother Bob (the guitar player) stayed at our house. They are great guys who make music at night and pour concrete in the family business by day. Thus avoiding being the punchline in the old joke “What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?” The answer is “homeless”.
The band played 2 sets tonight; we loved them both then listened to the CD in the car on the way home. The genre is jazz, of the smooth variety, not the New Orleans variety. This is music I can live with.
The party was fun, the music was excellent, there we lots of friends there and Margaret had a good time. What more could you ask from a Tuesday night?