Sunday, March 12, 2006

What I Saw at the Phoenix Yesterday

It was a Saturday afternoon at The Phoenix Piano Bar & Grill, and the Scamps were entertaining the crowd with their brand of good-natured, historical jazz. The sun was getting low in the sky, and the downtown buildings were taking on a golden glow. We had a table up front, and I had a Fat Tire in front of me. The Scamps are the longest-running musical group in the world, and they were having fun, as they have since 1946.

All is right with the world when you hear the Scamps and have good beer and good company. The red glow of the neon "Jazz" sign bathed the group in rosey tones that blended with the golden light outside.

A youngish man came in, carrying a case, and took a seat at the rail in front of our table. Nicely dressed, he ordered a Clausthaler and led the applause for the virtuoso solos.

At the break, the young man spoke up to Lucky Wesley - the leader of the band - and asked whether he could sit in and play a few songs on his fiddle. By way of credentials, he mentioned a few of the groups and individuals he had played with in the past. They met with Lucky's approval, and the youngish man was given a jack for his fiddle.

Together, the band and the youngish man ripped through 3 or 4 numbers, and the fiddle brought not only a great new sound, but also a heightened level of intensity among all the musicians. The Scamps are many things, but they are not a hot, flashy sensation - but when they were jamming with the new kid with the fiddle, they were back a few decades, and they were rolling with the sound. They rose to the challenge, and brought us all along.

The youngish man played a few numbers with the band, and won their respect. You could tell that the experienced saxophonist Dwight Foster was suspicious of the interloper, but, at the end of the jam, he extended a warm hand of jazz acceptance.

After a few great songs, the youngish man put his fiddle back in its case and left the Scamps to complete their set - back to themselves, but maybe a little heightened by the new sound.

I caught the name of the youngish fiddler. He is Edgar Gabriel, and he took full advantage of his opportunity to play with the Scamps. I'm glad I was there.


Blogger Janet said...

Man, I miss having time and opportunity to go to the Phoenix. A toddler with another on the way just isn't condusive to visiting places like that. *sigh*

3/13/2006 8:45 AM  
Blogger antimedia said...

Dan, I am so jealous. You were a part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Beside that, it was jazz. Damn! Wish I'd been there too.

3/14/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger Happy In Bag said...

Like you indicate, the Scamps are a life-affirming force. But boy, do I miss Speedy Huggins.

3/20/2006 12:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home