The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘North Beach’

Keystone Korner

Posted by keithosaunders on July 10, 2017

This past weekend I took part in a 45th anniversary of the great, long-gone San Francisco jazz club called Keystone Korner.  The North Beach club was in existence from 1972 until 1985 – not terribly long by jazz club standards – but long enough to make an indelible imprint on the Bay Area jazz scene.  During its time it played host to the greatest names in jazz – from McCoy Tyner to Stan Getz, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, and Horace Silver.

This weekend’s celebration featured such luminaries as Azar Lawrence, Gary Bartz, and Charles MacPherson, all of whom still sound great.  I played in the host band, led by tenor saxophonist, Mel Martin.

It was a bittersweet weekend.  I realized that the era of local jazz clubs hosting top touring musicians for six night stints (at affordable prices) is long gone. Sure, New York still has the Village Vanguard, but you would have to practically float a loan to attend it more than once a month.

Furthermore, the Vanguard is very much the exception.  Many cities, San Francisco being one of them, no longer have clubs devoted exclusively to jazz.  Corporate arts centers such as SF Jazz and Lincoln Center help, but do little to foster the sense of a local jazz community.   Not only that, they will rarely host an act for more than a couple of nights.

We have to enjoy our few remaining jazz clubs while we have them.  One day we’ll only have youtube and our memories.

Image result for keystone korner

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Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Your obligatory Super Bowl post

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2016

I feel guilty about my lack of enthusiasm over Sunday’s big game but for whatever reason I just can’t seem to get excited over it.  Part of the reason is that I have an early starting solo piano gig that’s going to interfere with me seeing the fourth quarter.  Fortunately I have a good line of sight from the piano to the TV but I’m a little farther away than I’d like to be which will make identifying the holding calls tough.

The game is being played in Santa Clara which is 40 miles south of where I live. This is where the 49ers moved two season ago — a corporate designer stadium monstrosity. From all counts Levi’s Stadium has a nightmare parking situation which can take hours to enter and exit.   Route 101 is a tough artery to deal with in the best of circumstances but one can only imagine how much worse it will be tomorrow.  Throw in the post 9/11 security and you couldn’t pay me enough to attend this game.  I’ve heard that there are people who flew in from out of town that aren’t able to go to the game but are going to local Santa Clara bars so that they can be close to the action.  I pity these dullards.  Stay at home and watch from your couch, for crying out loud.  Santa Clara has no ambiance!

All of the Super Bowl festivities, whatever they are, have taken place in San Francisco which has made it tough for the working stiff musician to get into town for his gigs. (I live across the bay in a town just north of Berkeley called Albany)  Tonight I’m gigging in North Beach which is a part of San Francisco that is only a 20 minute walk from the a Bart station.  Tomorrow, however, I’m working in a part of San Francisco not serviced by Bart so I’ll have to drive.  I’m hoping that everyone will already be ensconced at the TV of their choice by the time I have to leave.

And there you have it:  My Super Bowl post.  My prediction:  Carolina 28 Denver 7.

Posted in football, San Francisco, Super Bowl, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Brush with greatness

Posted by keithosaunders on March 10, 2011

One of the things I like most about being a musician is that your life rarely gets boring.  You never know who you will meet, or what you will play at any given gig.  In the old days, when I was first starting out, all I wanted to do was burn.  If I wasn’t playing straight ahead jazz with great players, I wasn’t happy.  Of course this is still the pinnacle for me, but my criteria for enjoyment on a gig has evolved throughout the years.  Part of this is due to the systematic beat-down perpetrated over the years by club owners, rude audience members, and shady band leaders, but it’s also due to my own ever-changing priorities.

Here’s what I need:  First of all I need a good parking spot, one fairly close to the gig, preferably on the side of the street that is facing in the direction of home.  I would like the club to have a TV tuned to whatever sporting event is in season, and I would like it to be facing the bandstand.  If it’s baseball season, I need the Mets game to be on.  Free beer goes a long way towards my gig enjoyment, and dinner is a plus as well.  I do not require filet mignon, just enough sustenance to get me through the evening without any light-headed dizzy spells. 

All these criteria were met at a gig I played in North Beach the other day.  The gig was with a quintet, led by a singer.  It was one of those gigs where everyone in the club was pleasantly half-drunk, extremely convivial and obliging.  A good time was had by all. 

The singer had a sore throat that night so she asked us to transpose everything to lower keys.  You would think that she would want the keys taken down a whole step, or at the most, a minor 3rd.  Nope.  She had us transpose a 4th, sometimes even a 5th lower!  It got to the point where she was approaching Barry White territory.

 Towards the end of the night this older lady sat in.  She said to me, “Play All of Me, but play it like Louis Prima would!”  So I did, and although she clearly was not a trained vocalist, we had a good time romping our way through the old standard in the swing-shuffle style of Prima. 

At the end of the night the bass player asked if I knew who that singer was.  I said I didn’t, so he informed me, “That’s Carol Doda, who is credited with being the world’s first topless dancer.”  Apparently she is also the first woman ever to have breast implants. 

There you have it.  A true brush with greatness, and according to Keitho’s Approved Standard of Gigs — ASOG ™ — a succesful evening.

Posted in music, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »