Friday, June 8, 2012

A Taste of Jazz

Every Monday starting around 9pm there is free jazz at Taste (717 W. Smith Street, College Park). When I arrived, the drum set was just starting to get assembled. I ordered a beer at the bar and started sketching the empty stage and the paintings on the walls. All the paintings were of celebrities. Who actually hangs a painting of Marilyn Monroe or Marilyn Manson above their couch? As more musicians arrived, the buzz began to build in the room. A tall African American man, named Zion, entered the room with a leopard skin cap and an open jacket with no shirt underneath. He was shouting and happy. He shouted, "I will be throwing money on the stage tonight!" He had been given a watch by his woman and he wanted the world to know. He showed me his watch and it was as big as a saucer covered in gold and silver.  The inner gears were exposed. He shouted out, "look how beautiful she is!" as he gestured to the woman in the doorway, and she smiled. Then, as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone.

I heard the drummer say that all The Jazz Professors from UCF were going to perform. Jeff Rupert, the program director was on tenor sax, Bobby Koelble was on the guitar, Per Danielsson on the keys, Richard Drexler played bass, and Marty Morell, the band leader, was on drums. Flying Horse Records put out a live recording from the UCF-Orlando Jazz Festival of this group, The Jazz Professors remained on the Jazz Week charts for 17 weeks, peaking at 19. The music began and my lines danced as I tapped my foot and swayed to the beat. These guys were great! I had stumbled upon an amazing performance. People were shouting and clapping in appreciation. Everyone was lost in the free flowing adventure of smooth improvisation. The air was electric. With my beer and sketch finished, I decided to leave after the first set. On the drive home, I realized I was hungry for another taste.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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