and all that jazz…

It’s seems there is JETS mania happening around town.  But there are other objects of interest to write about.

A night on the town….  Early dinner at Haru’s where I think I enjoyed the ambiance even more than the modern Japanese cuisine or maybe it was just that Jene and I haven’t spent planned evening out in a long time.  The food was tasty, the service prompt so I can’t complain but I wasn’t balled over, although I loved the decor.  The separate rooms were formed by tiers and edged by a row of birch trunks strung with white mini lights.  Having lunched at Nobu on many occassions and spent 2 weeks in Japan, I am spoiled by the authentic tastes of the far east.   We chose a cold sakeOur dinner left the taste of westernization in my mouth.  That is true of most ethnic foods, they become americanized – almost homogenized.  Jene had the sushi/sashimi which did include a hand roll of something unique.  For some reason I decided on the veggie and shrimp tempura.  So our choices may have been too white bread for our own liking but I didn’t see any menu descriptions that piqued my interest.   It was only while looking on line today that I noticed a special dinner menu – bento box.  hmmmmm did I miss that?  Maybe we should have order from the cold appetizers instead of entrees.  As I said, the food was tasty and I would go again.

Last night, Jene and I went to jazz pianist Keith Jarrett’s Carnegie Hall concert.   A one night stand played to a packed house.   I wast familiar with Keith as Jene was but since he had mentioned that he would love to see him, it became one of his Christmas gifts.  Then Jene picked up a couple of his CDs for me to hear.  We had front row, slightly to the right of center seats.  From my perch, I could only see Keith’s head when he rose up from the bench.  Keith’s music comes from within and he is moved by it.  It seems he can’t help but utter some sounds as his hands dance over the ivories, nor stop his body from making small spasms or his head from shaking out the notes quickly.  So cool to watch.  Never having been so close to a solo grand piano, Jene commented that if you just listen, you can hear the notes on a different level.  To me, the sound came across as 3 dimensional.  That’s a good way to phrase it Jene thought.  The clarity of the Steinway and the acoustics of Carnegie Hall are astounding.  The improvisation of Jarrett tickled my fancy because one has no preconceived notion of where the music would  take you.  You just sit back and enjoy the ride.  A few encore’s ended with 3 well known medleys:  The Gerswhin’s “Someone to watch over me” a jazz standard, “Summertime” one of my favorites from Porgy & Bess (composed by George Gershwin, lyrics by DuBose Heyward) and ended with “Over the rainbow” (music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg).  This reminded me of the old game “name that tune” with scores of hoot and hollars when the first notes resounded the familiar melodies, and then the way jazz is meant to be, it goes off on a tangent of it’s own.  Keith Jarrett is touted as a jazz master and I thought it was evident last night.

What I liked was there wasn’t any embelliousments – just Jarrett and the Steinway.  The concert was being recorded and I’ll be sure to pick up the CD when it’s released.  Hopefully the engineers can dubb out the coughing that seemed to make Jarrett lose his concentration at one point.  While it is annoying, I don’t think it is done on purpose even the complimentary ricola drops can’t always subdue a nagging cough.  Jene’s theory is that people cough when they become bored, it’s a natural reaction.  Not sure I buy his theory.  More disturbing are the camera flashed.  Although reminded by the staff many times that photography or recording the event was prohibited, people still think that the rule is not meant for them.  How RUDE!   Especially with a flash.  After taking leave of the stage, Keith’s back stage man came out and reprimanded the audience and then Keith came to the mike and said that it’s not that he doesn’t like his picture taken but it is distracting to see the red lights and flashes go off.  And that people should remember that they should be enjoying the moment and that just because they have the technology in hand (cell phones and digital cameras) that they should leave the photography to the people who have learned how to take pictures.  I applauded that loudly….

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