Home! New York! Despite driving rain, the 55 Bar was absolutely packed for both sets last night. And, as well as our beloved regulars, there were tons of new people there…. I felt utterly redeemed after California. Fire. Rain. Lonely days that you think will never end. Nothing stops New York-uhs, especially 55-uhs.!
THIS IS A PICTURE I TOOK OF NEW YORK IN THE RAIN A FEW WEEKS BACK. NOTE PEOPLE WALKING ABOUT IN IT.
So are just some of the reasons we love the 55:
1. It is an amazing place to work out new stuff and experiment in a no-pressure environment in front of a loving, receptive audience! Last night I threw all this stuff at Jason and Victor that we had never done before, Round Midnight, Just One of Those Things and other [gasp!] STANDARDS — which I almost never do but have, lately, rediscovered after a long long rest — and they did an great job, unfettered by the spectre of people sitting with arms and legs crossed miming “show me!”
2. You never know who will be in the audience. The President of East Timor came one night — admittedly he was brought by a friend, but it was very exciting and everyone wanted to know who was there who could possibly need the (extremely OBVIOUS) bodyguard who was at the bar looking like one of the baddies in the Matrix (too muscular for his suit with a curly wire protruding from behind his ear, like Agent Smith). THIS IS A PICTURE OF AGENT SMITH. Not at the 55 Bar.
3. We always sell CDs — although last night, RIGHT IN FRONT OF someone who had emailed me in advance to ask me to save my one remaining copy of Nights of Key Largo (Venus), I sold it to a young woman who wanted to buy the CD with “the sex song” on it (AKA’The Island’) because I thought he wasn’t coming. Yikes! Luckily, my latest shipment has arrived from Japan and is ready to pick up. To hear/buy any of my CDs check this link Tessa’s Music
4. The bar staff — led by their fearless leader, Tara — serve up magical potions with diverse names like “beer” and “wine” and “cocktail” but which all have the same marvelous effect of making you feel kind of warm and squiffy inside!
5. I’ve been playing there for more than six years every month, since the late and great Queva (that’s a picture of us hugging) gave me my first gig there in May 2003
and turned it into a “home” gig for me. Other “regulars” include jazz giants Chris Potter and Mike Stern, and Motema (who put out my latest CD Obsession) label-mate, the amazing singer-songwriter KJ Denhert. Queva once surprised me with a huge birthday cake and free champagne for everyone on a gig I did near my birthday, and then she did it again to celebrate my third anniversary of playing there.
6. Everybody knows your name! It’s like Cheers with good music. They even know my mum! (Pictured with me below — at the bar … hic!)