Friday, February 1, 2008

Jazz at the Firehouse

Columbus Music Hall, aka Jazz at the Firehouse where the music is played in the old station house where the horse and steam engines were stored awaiting an alarm. The d├ęcor is faded wallpaper, dusty chandeliers with missing lights and a makeshift dance floor that is never used as tables block a dancer’s route. This is the home of many a jazz group: on this particular night, Michael Cox and his quartet, which includes; Mark Flugge on piano, Doug Richeson on bass, Jim Rupp on drums, and Cox on every manner of woodwind.

I love hearing the live music, even if “White Death” in Columbus is predicted and Michael Cox is promising that no matter where we are in the program, he will REALLY get us out by 10. You can tell this is not a regular occurrence; I liken it to a group of similar spirits who just really like what they do, audience or no audience and they would weave their craft until they became weak with hunger or thirst. Even tonight, Flugge isn’t feeling well and we never would know except that by sitting close we overhear the conversation between Flugge and Cox.

Tonight is a special night as Cox is selling a CD of his: “Abstractions, Dedications & Red Dirt”, to fund a medical emergency of a musician on this album, Dennis Irwin, bass player. All proceeds will go to financing medical bills. We purchase a CD after the first set, hand him a $20 for a $15 CD, requesting all of it go to his friend, whom we hope has some insurance. Musicians being nomads, we doubt that there is any insurance.

Cox’s Quartet plays about 4 tunes from the CD; my favorite tune is, “Nana” a slow burn with samba like drum play and a catchy mellow sax line. At one point, Cox asks the guys individually if they know this next tune he would like them to play . . . they all say, no; yet Cox continues forcing them to all sight read. These guys are so good that sight reading is a non-issue and fun besides. Speaking of sight reading . . . I have my favorite part of the evening also in addition to a favorite tune; when my bi-focals betray me on my way to the restroom and lead me into the “Mens” room where I have an unknown male witnesses watch me enter. Spotting the white porcelain of the urinal, I back out, look at this twenty-something male and say, “You didn’t see that, did you?”

Back in my seat I see and hear Husband, Stewart laughing at me. Michael Cox has spoken so long between tunes that I have not missed a beat of music and I come back in enough time to hear Cox say, “Arrangements while you wait”. He had spent my entire restroom time, while I was showing my age-related disability to some poor young schmuck, (who is sure he will never get old) doing last minute final adjustments of the next tune. It’s a very relaxed environment and I walk away whistling.


  1. Sounds like it the tunes were great...even if your bifocals failed ya! Who knows, maybe you made someone's day?

  2. Hate to admit........but I've gone to the men's room before as well. At a bowling alley.....others noticed and threw a bowling ball at the door. Boy was my face red when I came out!