I was a little late to my gig at Temblor for Tuesday, November 12th, 2019. The Bakersfield Jazz Workshop. I needed to feed my food addiction so I had to go to my friend’s house and make some ham sandwiches (and they’re kosher. I don’t know how he does it!) and then I had to take 3 buses to get to Buck Owens Blvd, where Temblor is located. Since I met him at Barnes & Nobles it would have been much easier to just grab a meal at Pollo Loco, but since I didn’t have any dinero I couldn’t buy my dinner-o. I was like Robert DeNiro looking in the mirror saying “You lookin’ at me?”
Anyway, since I was in no position to make any demands I just went with the flow, went to his house, made a couple of ham sandwiches, and tried to make my bus connections as easy as possible. So, I got off on M & Ming instead of South Chester & Ming and that way I wouldn’t have to wait for the turn signal to cross the street. It was maybe a little longer but I had the jump, because there was also the extra few seconds that I had from getting out of the bus sooner. So, with all that, the 22 was at the intersection, and I quickly ran through Quik Stop, without stopping, and though there were lines at the pumps and some fool was trying to back up and make a three point stop, he thankfully didn’t run me over and I did make it close enough to the bus stop that the driver would have been embarrassed had she not stopped and let me on. Then downtown, I got there just in time for the 45 Oildale. Miracles do happen. And then, I was at my stop on Select Ave by the Heart Hospital right at 6:30 so I took the back alley, through Arrow (where I didn’t even see the Indian) and then I counted how many feral cats were out, and saw at least 7, plus a skunk. Luckily, the skunk didn’t spray me, but what a skunk it was. I guess he shows up for the cat food that some kindly office workers leave for the feral cats. Feral skunk sounds kind of redundant.
Now they are playing a bossa nova when I get there. I think it is like “Only Trust Your Heart,” one of the songs that Astrid Gilberto cut with Stan Getz after the groundbreaking Getz/Gilberto album. Guitar Phenomenom James Thomas was playing drums, and trombonist extraordinaire was playing latin percussion. Anyway, I joined in on the next tune, along with Joey, an Alto Sax player who is going to BC, and another cat on Tenor, who I remembered as a fellow student of Paul Perez, our saxophone teacher. Also Tony Rinaldi on flute (he is a monster keyboard player but likes to play other things) and that left Miguel M. on keyboards (he is a guitar and bass player but he also likes to play other things). John Calo, the band leader, was also playing Tenor Sax. There are about 4 guitar players: James Brady, Gabriel Nightbird, Bob, and I forget, or maybe that is all, but just 2 play at once now. How do you spell relief? We played a Wayne Shorter tune, that was kind of really hard at one point. It wasn’t “Witchhunt” or “Fee Fi Foe Fum,” but one of those sorts of tunes. It had like where we held a note for 3 or 4 bars and then a chromatic passage with an altered chord mine field sort of a thing-a-ma-jig. We played Chitlins Con Carne, I believe it was. That was fun. Kind of a blues funk latin thing. We played a ballad in Bb, what was that all about? It was called “Guilty,” and I have never heard it before, but it was pretty standard for a standard, with the 1 6 2 5. You know the drill.
On the last tune, the Wayne Shorter, people were getting a little lost, but time was running out, so John said there was only time for one more solo, and I volunteered. I wasn’t exactly sure where we were, but I faked it well enough, I suppose. Then we played the head. Before my solo James Thomas played a pretty good one also. He has been playing drums because he likes the drums and there are too many guitar players, but I am glad he got a turn because he is amazing. All the guitar players are good, and I only made fun of them because 4 or 5 at once is just too many cooks spoiling the broth, when they are all comping, and it is too loud and cluttered. But solo-wise, they are all great, or if not great, on the path to greatness, improving with every week. Another guitarist who you should keep your eye on is young Lucas, but he has switched to bass, at which he is adept and picking up at lightning speed. He told me he is also a pretty good yodeler.
Finally, I noticed members of Dancing Tommy and Kyle and Lauren Appleton were in the audience, and it is great to see non-Jazz Musicians checking out the scene. Or maybe they were just scouting out new venues? Regardless, I am a big fan of both bands, and it was great to see them there. Kevin Wiley, the drummer, along with Joe White on vocals and some other folks, was the spotlight performance. If I left it was only because I had to catch the 45 bus before it got too late.