Ah, New York, New York, a hell of a town. The Bronx is up and the water's
brown...They had to name it twice so they could charge you double...The city
that never shuts up...Babylon on the Hudson...but seriously, folks, I love
it. Every time I go there something gets screwed up, but it's still fun and
exciting. We heard some good music at the booking showcase (a great flamenco
troupe called Flamenco Latino, and a band of Gnawan musicians led by a truly
unpleasant megalomaniac, but they were really playing some cool music), met
some really nice people (thanks to Paul Devlin and Jim Knave, who graciously
let Flippo and I sleep on their floor when our postage-stamp-sized hotel
room, thank God, fell through), and walked more in two days than I walk in a
month in Chicago. I learned how to deal with Penn Station the hard way, and
Flippo and I figured out (more or less) how to get back and forth from New
Joisey (or New Jessey, if you're Puerto Rican). The next time we plan to
tackle the subway system...

Another one from the archives. Working with the same leader I wrote about
last week (quite a few of you guessed his identity, but I still won't divulge
it publicly) at an awards banquet for a riding stable, many years ago. It was
summer, and we were in a tent. To begin with, the leader had evidently
forgotten who he'd called for the gig, and to his credit he didn't fire
anyone off the gig and let everyone play, but with the result that beside
himself (on piano) we had two guitars, a vibes player (actually the second
drummer but he brought his vibes), and a famous/infamous lunatic sax player
(more on him later). The tent we were in was at the top of a pretty steep
hill; we were allowed to drive our cars up the hill and park them behind the
tent.

This leader's book was pretty scary to begin with, he wasn't that great at
getting a band through a tune in the best of circumstances, and let's just
say that the guys who wound up on the gig didn't all agree on changes, but no
-one would lay out, so we really sounded like one of Ornette's double
quartets playing "Copacabana". I was kinda digging it (reminds me of the
famous Hal Russell story, when he fell off the bandstand, drums and all, but
I digress), but then I actually enjoy listening to "Skies Of America".

About halfway through the gig it started raining hammers and nails, and all
of the guests split, and I mean ALL of them. The leader insisted on us
playing out the contract, which meant that by the time we were done the hill
was a sea of mud, extremely tricky to get off of. I think I basically let my
car slide down the hill and hoped for the best. The coda was that the sax
player, who had spent the last break in his car smoking funny cigarettes,
locked his keys in the car and had to wait, all alone in the tent on the top
of the hill in the rain and lightning and the dark, for the local police to
come and slim-jim him into his car. I imagine the odor had cleared out by the
time they got there; I heard it was around 3am when he finally got off the
hill. Sometimes, unbidden, the picture of him sitting in that tent comes to
me while I'm playing a particularly horrible gig and it helps me get through
it.

This week Steven Hashimoto will stay at sea-level at:

SUN. 1/19: at SIMON'S TAVERN, 5210 N. Clark, 9-11:30pm, with the Steven
Hashimoto Quartet (Dan Hesler, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano, subbing for an
ailing Neal Alger; and Heath Chappell, drums).

THURS. 1/23: at THE AVENUE ALEHOUSE, 825 S. Oak Park, in Oak Park,
8pm-midnight, with the Steven Hashimoto Quartet (Mike Levin, sax; Carter
Luke, piano; Steve Magnone, drums). PLEASE NOTE: due to a knuckleheaded
mistake on my part, we had to swap dates with Eddie Harrison, and there
wasn't time to get the Alehouse's calendar and ads changed. Eddie's playing
next Thursday, on the 30th, and we are playing this Thursday.

FRI. 1/24: at THE NORTH LAKESIDE CULTURAL CENTER, 6219 N. Sheridan Road,
7:30-9:30pm, with The Steven Hashimoto Trio (Mike Levin, sax, and Bob Long,
piano). Then later on, as always, at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway,
1:30-3:45am, with The Green Mill Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob
Long, piano; Rick Shandling, drums) for the After-Hours Jam Session.