Last night, Erick and I had a lovely date night, thanks to Grandmary and jazz.
For our dates, we have tried to either stay in our neighborhood for entertainment and food or to try places that we haven't tried yet. Last night, we went to the Triumph Grill. It was a very interesting place, maybe a little confused in its identity. The clientele and expectation of a reservation indicated a fancy restaurant. However, the restaurant itself is decorated in motorcycle paraphernalia and the servers wore motorcycle brand t-shirts and shorts. It was kind of confusing, but the food was great. They serve a buffalo chicken queso dip that is absolutely fantastic!
After dinner, we went to the Blanche Touhill Center for Performing Arts at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for the second night of their Jazz Festival. The evening there started with the Jazz Ensemble of the university. They are a very talented group. The last couple of numbers of their set, the ensemble was joined by Jazz legend Clark Terry. He is 90-years-old, and his stage presence was strong, and his talent as a jazz musician is still very clear.
The feature act for the evening was the Ron Carter Trio. They were an incredibly talented and skilled group of musicians. Erick and I both so enjoyed their performance. Their trio was piano, bass and acoustic guitar. Erick would have been more satisfied had the third instrument been a horn, but I loved it just the way it was.
The evening reminded me why I love jazz music, particularly when performed live. For me, as a form of music, jazz invites the audience into it in a more significant way than any other mainstream music. When listening to jazz, I feel the same as when enjoying a work of visual art. I am invited to bring my own feelings and experiences to the performance and let it take me to a place of my own. When listening to jazz, I find myself under a streetlight in New Orleans, having a conversation with friends or strangers. The next piece could take me to an open field in summer or to a place that I've never been. The notes and rhythm of jazz just speak to me in a way that no other music does. That does not mean it's my favorite music, but it certainly is the most absorbing for me. I just love it.
The other great thing about watching a live jazz performance is watching the musicians interact with one another. Some jazz performers are charismatic and full of movement. The Ron Carter Trio were subtle and stationary. When I wasn't lost in my own world of the song, I loved watching the appreciation that the musicians showed for one another, after having performed together for years. Sometimes, it seemed that one of them could get so lost in another's solo that he would forget to jump in when needed.
The thing about jazz is that each listener is having their own experience interacting with the music. It's a room full of people hearing the same thing and experiencing something very personal. I love that.