Jazz and Supper

Last evening two of Jinny's friends picked us up for an evening of live music and good Italian food in downtown Port Chester. On Friday evenings, Marianacci's is a very nice place to be, especially if there are five musicians within inches of your table, which holds a glass of dry white wine and a really good golden beet salad and another dish of hot Italian sausage nestled beside a bed of spinach sauteed in plenty of garlic. Music with a little bosa nova, some Nat King Cole. Many familiar melodies for five musicians to riff on. And on top of all that, Jinny played during their first break and I love to hear at the piano. Always.
Jinny told us later that the big red Harwin Drive bracelet I brought her from Houston was pretty heavy on her left wrist and several times she thought about the part her left hand would play and switched to other melodies that gave her right hand more of the work. That pretty big bracelet may have to rest near the keyboard next time she plays.
And, how could I have forgotten? When we entered the restaurant, I took a cursory look around the bar area, wondering where we'd sit. I quickly dismissed the long banquette right in front of the musicians. Moments later, that is precisely where the four of us sat. Front and center. Then I remembered all the International Quilt Festival Bernina Fashion Shows that I'd attended in Houston as Jinny's guest. Every year, we sat front and center and Jinny greeted one person after another who came to shake her hand and catch up ever so briefly with a 'quilt-world great.' Why not just go for the center immediately? After all.
Jinny gave me a great gift by her example. Say YES and say, "It's OK." It really does work well when you voice those few, powerful words.
As we left the restaurant, Jinny was stopped by another woman who showed her photos of a musician who'd been very ill, but now recovered. He'd played back-up for Gene Bertoncini recently. Really. I remember Gene Bertoncini from my summer breaks in Rochester at Visual Studies Workshop. During my weeks there I boarded at the Eastman School of Music, right across the street from Visual Studies. Musicians stayed in the dorm too, after signing up for weeklong classes with musicians like Gene Bertoncini who taught there every summer.
How many times did we share conversations over breakfast and dinner and how many concerts did I attend to hear both students and their teachers? I remember those summers as a little bit of heaven. Did my own work each day and then listened listened to music in the evenings. One summer I was told that the drummer is the heart and the bass player is the soul. Thoughts? It was hard to choose.

P.S. I think I may have lost it with both of Jinny's friends, because as soon as I knew they were as troubled about the economy and politics as I, I couldn't bear NOT mentioning Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine and I couldn't bear not apologizing for Rick Perry. I see he just announced his campaign for the presidency today. I am imagining Perry and Bachmann for a Republican ticket. Can the Republicans find no one of wisdom and stature because of their right-wing litmus tests?

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