There is a big-band/jazz night every Tuesday but its attendees are all quite old and semi-frail (not too frail as not to absolutely school me on any dance floor.)
My friend Sarah texted me asking if I would go and I am not one to say no to these kinds of rare opportunities. By that I mean the rare types of people who would ask me to go to such a thing or want to attend such a thing.
Because everyone “likes” jazz but not everyone likes jazz. In theory it’s quite cool.
I have the fortune of having not one but two brothers, but in particular the younger one is a natural born musician and a bona fide jazz freak. I gave him like 5 Errol Garner vinyls that I stumbled upon and I think he nearly departed for the heavens. The man is his king and he scoffs at any mention of “easy listening” which is supposedly not jazz!
Don’t get him started on La La Land because it will start him on his “Jazz isn’t dead Ryan Gosling!” bit which is humorous but out of control.
Anyway Sarah and I were drinking Manhattans at this establishment while hordes of obviously regular attendees filed in. The band, whose name I cannot remember and for this I am very sorry, was a group of older white men and they began to play many fabulous jazz hits such as “The Lady is a Tramp” or “Come Fly With Me.” They had this lovely female crooner who would take horizontal video of them on her phone when she wasn’t singing for them. I think I spent the majority of the time on the verge of a squeal.
It only worsened when the older people began dancing with one another, some of them passionate, some of them looking away nearly detached. We were delighted with the scene in general. Sarah even danced with a sweet old man who clutched at her as if she might fly away if he didn’t lead her every step, but personally I think she held her own quite well.
Later a man named Jim, I think, or Jeff, or some other name with a “J” at the beginning, introduced himself and quite unabashedly—almost as if it escaped out of him—”why are you two here?”
It was as if he was gathering vital data. The whole of them must have been baffled enough to send an ambassador.
We looked at one another and Sarah said quite frankly “we really like jazz.”
It didn’t seem to be enough. We had to repeat this sentiment more than once and he ended by exclaiming that he hoped to see us there again, but we could see that he was skeptical about this.
I suppose it’s strange for a couple of twenty somethings to spend their time in such a place and not out at some bar getting openly stared at by some retired frat bro (see: non-collegiate.) I wondered if we were alien to the group in a way that bothered or fascinated them.
Is there some kind of code or just a desire to travel in packs that leads us to the same kind of establishment as our peers? Do we follow one another? If only Sarah and I were trendy enough to inspire droves of jazz loving twenty somethings to a big band club for some one on one non-sexual dancing.
(Fun fact: we’re not.)
Perhaps in fifty years there will be EDM Thursdays and I will spot some sprig of a person and feel the urge to ask them how the hell they turned up here.