Friday, April 12, 2013

La Ronde -- The Modern Jazz Quartet


In my last post I told you all about the big black Buick Electra convertible I used to drive around San Diego in.  Sometime after that day in Tijuana, my buddy John came over from Phoenix with a couple friends of his and we all enjoyed a boy’s “lost weekend.”  By Sunday morning, we probably didn’t enjoy it so much.  Regardless, the Buick was the perfect party-mobile for the occasion.

The four of us tooled around San Diego, bar-hopping and checking out the beach scene.  Then on Saturday night, we went downtown San Diego to attend “Street Scene.”  During Street Scene, the whole Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego is basically shut down for this huge party.  It has music stages set up all over the place and artists of all genres come and play.

Our fearsome foursome hit the Street Scene.  After scoping out the babes and checking out some music, we roamed over to the St. John’s Hotel where some friends of mine had rented a room.  This was a time prior to the St. John’s remodel and my friends room had access to the ledge right outside the window.  Now this ledge was not meant to be a party balcony, but it became one.  

The St. John’s is perhaps 12 to 15 stories and is shaped like a giant “E.”  The back side of the Hotel made up the horizontal lines of the “E.” My friend’s room was on the top floor and their window overlooked the back side of the Hotel.  All they had to do was pop open the window and we were outside walking on the “E” shaped roof.   Like I said, this was not meant to be a party balcony.  There were no guardrails, no parapet, no anything.  You could walk right up to the edge of the ledge and look down upon Street Scene.  You could sit down on the ledge of one arm of the “E” and chat with someone else sitting across from you on the adjacent  ledge.  

It was extremely fun hanging around up there.  I ran into my ex-girlfriend.  Seeing her there was probably a factor in us getting back together and eventually getting married.  So in retrospect it was a romantic evening as well as a fun one.  One of my guests, who had never met my girlfriend commented, "You guys have a history don't you?"

Anyway, I digress.

Eventually, my bros and I partied enough and we decided to call it a night.  I took the city side streets back home as a way of giving my guests a tour of the town.  We were strolling along nice and easy.  

Now the Buick only had an old-fashioned AM/FM radio.  The station I usually had it tuned to was Jazz 88.  On this particular night, with everybody half passed out, the slow Jazz tune playing on the station seemed totally fitting.  It so happens that Long Beach also has a Jazz station.  Jazz 88 in San Diego is 88.3 FM.  The Long Beach station is 88.5.  Regardless of which station I tuned the radio to, it would often switch back and forth between the two depending on what street I happened to drive down.

On this night it switched back and forth about every 10 seconds or so.  The song on 88.3 was this slow, mellow tune.  The song on 88.5 was this swinging, upbeat Jazz number.  It kept switching back and forth for the whole drive home and made its own sort of trippy Jazz instrumental.  I was probably the only one of us who noticed, but just as I pulled into my driveway, the final switch-over fell onto the mellow tune just as it was coming to an end.  A perfect ending to a perfect day.

I hope you don’t expect to hear this amazing switcheroo Jazz tune.  It would be impossible for me to re-create it.  However, in commemoration of that night, I offer this upbeat Jazz number called “La Ronde” by the Modern Jazz Quartet.




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