The GGA Project -- Day #356 "Pretty Sure This Whole Project Was Leading to This..."

Stanley Turrentine came, I missed that series of shows, and then he died.

Dave Brubeck has come and gone 10 times since I moved to the Bay Area, and I missed all of those shows, too.  

In fact, most every living jazz great who still plays has been to this place I've been trying to visit since moving to the Bay Area, and I've missed them all.  So I knew there was NO WAY I was letting this project end without experiencing

Today's New Activity: Yoshi's!!!!!!

If you know me even a little, you probably know that I like jazz, and that I especially like hearing it live.  But somehow I've just never made the concerted effort to get to Yoshi's.  First of all, it's kind of pricey--for a student's budget anyway.  So there were a number of years when it just wasn't feasible.  And then it was.  But it just kind of dropped off my radar for a while, and when it would come to mind....I don't know.  The bottom line is that I just didn't get there.

A few weeks ago I even got really close.  I found myself across the street from the original, more well-known Oakland location when my friend Neal and I checked out Jack London Square.  This time around I grabbed Neal again and headed to the newer location in San Francisco, namely because the project was almost over and--of the upcoming performers--the one playing tonight in SF was the one I most wanted to see.

I really, really, really wish I had both better pictures and some accompanying audio for this post, but all I had with me was my phone camera, and audio was, of course, discouraged (in fact, we witnessed what happens when somebody breaks that rule.  A guy down below in the crowd flashes his flashlight at the perp and makes the hand-to-the-throat, slashing motion.  Ooooooooooh).

Lookit that.  A boda fide jazz club, replete with two-top bistro tables, an amazing sound system, and just enough room cleared of tables for the feelin'-it couples there tonight to dance their asses off to Eddie Palmieri's salsa orchestra.  What energy (not so much from Eddie himself, who was celebrating his 75th birthday(!)--though one thing I do love about jazz musicians is that they just keep right on grooving into old age)!

I loved the moments when the musicians just kind of worked up into a frenzy, the pure joy coming through in their smiles.  And--as always when I listen to jazz--I spent a nice moment remembering my grandfather, who introduced me to the genre in the first place.  It was also really nice to sense Neal, who's a bit new to jazz/salsa at this point, feeling the groove too.

Though there's a week and a half left of my project, I can honestly say that my mission here has been accomplished.  Not because of today's activity alone, but because I can say with confidence that the year of reaching into new, unfamiliar realms has somehow led me right back to myself...to me...the version I always liked best and knew was still in there somewhere.  It seems a bit paradoxical, but it's true.

Tonight I will sleep well, and in a new kind of peace....


  1. Jazz is amazing, isn't it? I was on a work trip to Manhattan once, and I made a point of going to see the Blue Note. I paid full price, and had to sit at the bar, but I got to hear about 10 minutes of Horace Silver.

    He's gone now too.

    We have a local jazz club. The Hip Kitty. Jazz an fondue. My mind swims at the incongruity. But! It's jazz. I can walk there, but I've been only once. Life sometimes gets in the way of living. But high fives on Yoshi's!

  2. yay! what an awesome experience. and i can't believe there are only a few more days of your project left!