Falling into Jazz

Most people ducked slightly as they walked in the front door because the band was set up right next to the entrance to the cafe. At Industry Jazz Cafe in Culver City, the newly-installed booths made the space seem to open up. I like to sit with my legs crossed, but my outstretched leg got in the way of the staff as they passed my seat at the bar. So I gave up that privilege so that the waitresses could more easily pass by to deliver hot plates of Ethiopian food and soul food staples like greens and macaroni and cheese to hungry patrons.

There was no space for dancing, but you wanted to; especially when that reggae-infused jazz jam was playing. We settled for bobbing our heads in our seats as Farzeed Farhati killed that alto saxophone during his solo. The music sounded so spontaneous and improvisational that Sandra pointed to the music stands and commented, "I'm surprised to see sheet music up there."

Almost everyone there was a friend of a band member, a local, or a friend of the guitarist, Chip Moyer who was enjoying a belated birthday celebration. What we all had in common was that we had come out on a Saturday night to support the Center for the Jazz Arts. During a short break, Guy DeFazio described the work of the center to promote the music and culture of jazz. The center created a film project for which they interviewed World War II veterans who told stories about their memories of jazz music during that time period.

The show ended at eleven pm, but patrons stayed to congratulate their musician friends on a job well done. The owner of the establishment greeted us and welcomed us to stay and socialize as the sounds of Motown songs like "Ball of Confusion" played in the background. At midnight we finished our meals and drinks and I left the spot with red wine warming my stomach and the sounds of jazz warming my heart.


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