Prelude to a Bliss
Got back from Miami, finally. More mechanical problems with jets; more lost luggage delivered after the expected delivery time. The whole air travel thing gets me down. When I think how they have raised prices, and keep raising them despite the cost of oil going down, and how they have cut back meals in first class, how you have to print your own luggage tag now (and they still haven't got the system down for distinguishing between priority customers and all others in this process), and how your luggage is not pulled from the original flights when they switch you to another flight and your luggage does not arrive with you, how you have to wait at least a half hour in baggage claim before your luggage comes out of the carousel (if it arrived with you) because they have cut down the number of luggage handlers at the airport, and how the old seats are long overdue for replacement and yet how they have made the seats on the new jets even more uncomfortable, and how even after paying to be permanent TSA-Pre, they still make you go through the regular security at times "to throw off the bad guys"....well, it makes me sick of flying. There is more I could say, but all the bad feelings are coming back as I write and I don't want to go to that place again.
Yesterday I was really bummed and they had not even found my luggage. It was lost. I was finally home, but was home-bound having to wait for calls from the airline and from a delivery service, and then had to wait around for the delivery service to get here; totally ruining my Saturday. We had planned to go to Dizzy's to see the "Soul & Jazz Christmas" event, but I was concerned that I would still have to be home waiting for a freakin' bag. I have only been home 1 full day in December so far. I was ready to throw in the towel on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Brumalia, and all else that ails ya. I was sick of the crass commercialism, the political, racial, ethnic, and religious fighting around the world, and the stupidity of making a movie (to open on Christmas day, no less) about assassinating a sitting world leader - you don't have to like the dude to say this was as much akin to expression of free speech as yelling fire in a crowded theater - yeah, I was done with the "happy holiday" horseshit. Give me Miles Davis Sextet featuring Bob Dorough singing "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)"..."I hope you have a fine one but for me it's blue...".
Well, the bag arrived at 5 pm. It was supposed to be delivered some time before 4:30. Nancy really wanted to go to dinner and then to Dizzy's. So I unpacked the wayward bag, and got ready to go out, still shell-shocked from the consistently bad travel experiences of the past three weeks. We decided to go to Frank's Pizzeria where we could eat great pizza and drink a ton of beer. The place was packed. Glad to see them doing so well. We sat and visited with a couple female octogenarians while we waited on a table. Sweet ladies - I hope we're as active and spry as they are when we reach that age. Preceding the pepperoni pizza we ordered some calamari to remind me of Miami. We downed it all with some Stella. After dinner we had plenty of time to make it to Dizzy's.
Dizzy's Soul & Jazz Christmas
We got to Dizzy's early. The musicians were still doing a little last minute rehearsing. You could see the excitement as well as the nervousness in their eyes as they prepared. The crowd trickled in at first. By 8 pm starting time the place was full. Performing was the Jazzmikan Trio, consisting of Mikan Zlatkovich on piano, Antar Martin on string bass, and Russell Bizzett on drums; in addition, we were treated to Jamie Shadowlight on violin, and Arnessa Rickett and Carmelia Toot Bell on vocals.
The Trio started things off with Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride". Immediately, I realized I had been transported to jazz nirvana. Following this intro, the vocalists came in for a fabulous version of Anita Baker's "Moonlight Sleighride", complete with duo scat singing. From there, it was primarily the trio and the singers, the trio and violin, or all of them together. Arnessa simply owned "Santa Baby", singing in more of a Natalie Cole than an Eartha Kitt style. Carmelia did a wonderful version of "Winter Wonderland". Jamie and the trio performed two spellbinding pieces, "We Three Kings" and "Ring, Christmas Bells" improvising into magical mystical places. Jamie was exceptional in execution. The music went on and on, the group loosened up more and more, the singers were having great fun with the audience. Mikan is every bit on a par with Marian McPartland, Eliane Elias, and Keith Jarrett. Yes, that good. The group gave Antar some room to do some swingin' solo work, and Russell would erupt at just the right time on his syncopated skins to add humor and charm. The group did a lovely version of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here", and I've never heard such a soulful "Silent Night" with Arnessa and Carmelia pushing each other to greater and greater heights - I have to confess, "my eyes watered in appreciation" to steal a line from Don Van Vliet. When the final song ended, the audience was on their feet - big smiles, loud applause, hugs. The group was very accessible, as is always the case in San Diego. I shared my appreciation with Mikan and Jamie. Jamie got a photo of Nancy and I with her and then posted it on Facebook.
Yes, indeed, Christmas time is here. And I'm ready.