Wednesday, May 16, 2012

If there's one word that will make a jazz musician go all misty-eyed; make him stare into the middle-distance and sigh wistfully; cause him to pull his head out of his arsenal of instruments and accessories, it's "Callipygian". Another word that will do it is "Residency." A steady gig. A regular. It's the working musician's holy grail. Most of us have had them in the past, and most have lost them. That pensive, pitiful silence is usually followed by the painful details of the great lost gig; It lasted six amazing months; I don't know what happened- it was all going so well; Was it me? Something I did? Something I didn't do? Did I not introduce the gig to my friends? Was it the time I blew off the gig to watch that Die Hard marathon? It was amazing- I could eat what I wanted, drink what I wanted, wear the same clothes every time... I'll never have a gig that good again...
 My friends, I know the feeling. It's been a dry spell for me lately, steady-gig-wise. Oh sure, I've had my share of one-nighters- sordid little three-hour affairs with hardened pros of the basest variety, with little or no standards- but nothing that ever felt right. Then a few weeks ago, I spent a Sunday night in Chelsea. It was perfect- a couple of drinks, the lights were low, there were lots of people watching- everything just clicked. The very next day, Dan moved his drums in. I know this is moving very fast, and I've been shown the door so many times before, so I'm being cautious- I'm not changing my Facebook status to "employed" just yet.

 The joint is called Smithfield and it's very cool- opened only a month ago in the area between Chelsea and Midtown known (by me) as the Disputed Territories. It's now a very comfortable and homey Irish bar, but in its previous incarnation it was a full-on doof-doof nightclub- I guess this explains that guy in the bathroom wearing nothing but body glitter, and the constant requests for La Bouche. Ground floor, while salubrious and welcoming, is clearly set up for watching sports- there are more over-sized, flashing TVs than Christopher street on a Sunday morning. One flight up is the so-called Market Bar, where our little shindig takes place. And above that is the brilliant Wallace room (named after William Wallace, the bumbling but lovable plasticine Yorkshireman with a love of cheese)- all leather Chesterfields, dusty books and various old-timey paraphernalia. Have to get photos of it up here soon.  One of the owners is our good mate, Ken- ace guitarist and legendary bartender/raconteur. He's put this little gig together, and will hopefully make his presence known on the upcoming Smithfield podcast! (Maybe if I mention it here, I'll actually make it happen...)  
 Rounding out the numbers are the charming and talented Champian Fulton, the Hempton Band's own Dan Aran, and an amazing roster of rotating bass players. The lease on the place runs out in 15 years- if we make it that far, and the gig's still going, it might be time to move in. No promises, though.
 Here's the bar:, and the Facebook page. We're on every Sunday from 8:30-11:30PM- come down and say "Wendsleydale!" Next week, a night with Ned Nederlander! Righto...

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