For me, TBATAT is one of those perfect albums, like Sgt Pepper’s, The Glenn Gould recording of the Goldberg Variations, and The Köln Concert by Keith Jarrett.
A perfect album is an indivisible singularity in the space-time continuum. The mind doesn’t separate one track from the other, and each phrase is a synecdoche not for the track, but for the entire album. As each song fades, the emotional response to the next song begins, even before the first note is heard. You cannot listen to a prefect album on shuffle play. Even Chuck Norris cannot separate Stolen Moments from Hoe-Down
Tonite, Freddy Hubbard, the trumpet player on TBATAT, plays at Yoshi’s new San Francisco venue. Over the last 19 years, have been to all of the jazz venues in SF, including such institutions as Jazz at Pearl’s (which seems to be closing as of April 2008), Biscuit and Blues, and Rassela’s, but these clubs never really drew international talent.
And for some unfathomable reason, the San Francisco Jazz Festival held most of its headline shows at the Masonic Hall, which has the absolutely worst acoustics in all of San Francisco. The last year I went to the Jazz Fest, I walked out of an Abbie Lincoln concert because the acoustics made it impossible to enjoy.
To hear the best Jazz in the San Francisco, one had to go to Yoshi’s in Oakland. I’ve been there at least 10 times. But having to travel to Oakland, in my mind, meant that San Francisco had ceded to Oakland not just its waterfront, but its jazz scene as well. So much for San Francisco as a world-class city.
My hope tonite is that Yoshi’s will live up to my expectations! The intimate Oakland venue has headline artists, great acoustics, no columns to block the view of the stage, comfortable seats, and reasonable food in the attached Japanese restaurant. If the SF venue even comes close to matching Oakland, you’ll find me there catching the best of the best.
Now excuse me while I put on TBATAT. You can get your own copy here.