I grew up on jazz music. Scratch that. My dad blared jazz music every morning and every night from the living room at home and I was lucky enough to have my bedroom on the ground level of the house so I would wake up to the sound of… well it wasn’t even sound, more like the noise of avant garde jazz. You see, my dad is a huge jazz fan. The basement of the house is full of CDs and vinyl of the most obscure jazz musicians you’ve never heard of. I hated it. I would sit in my room with my boombox and blare Slipknot and System of a Down back at him. It would be a battle of who could play it louder. Damn him and his expensive, nice speakers.
I never understood jazz music. I tried. I really did. But I never got into it.
Last night I found myself turning into my father. There were plenty of shows in town last night. Plenty of good, heavy hitting metal shows in run down houses and run down clubs. But where was I? I was in a dimly lit, yet swanky, jazz club listening to Jon Weber.
Never heard of Jon Weber? You’re missing out! John Weber is an amazing piano player with the mind of a genius.
Jon Weber isn’t your typical piano player. Yeah, he plays some typical songs. He knows all the standards but that’s not what I enjoy about him.
I’ve seen Jon play a couple of times now and he amazes me with his tricks and talent. What tricks am I talking about? Do you know the Icelandic national anthem? John does. He asked the crowd what song to play next and for some reason, the Icelandic national anthem is what was shouted out. Yeah, yeah anyone can look at this music and play this song. Not too exciting. But then, the crowd was told to shout out a number between one and seven (to indicate what key). Then sharps or flats. (I shouted out sharps… my 5 seconds of fame last night) All of a sudden, Jon is playing the Icelandic National Anthem in the key of F sharp. But that wasn’t enough. What style did the crowd want him to play the song in? Well, the style of Scott Joplin, of course. So now, out of nowhere, we are hearing the Icelandic national anthem as played by Scott Joplin in the key of F sharp.
I am more than envious of his ability to do this. It’s amazing enough that he knew the song off the top of his head but then to play it in a random key and a random style.. just amazing.
On top of being able to play any song shouted out in whatever key the audience wants, Jon is able to recall dates and fun facts at the drop of a dime. He will introduce a song and then who wrote it and then his (or her) birthday and then who they married and then the date they married and… did you know this president was born on their wedding day and then…. It just goes on and on. He encourages people to get on their phones and fact check him… he was right with every single fact.
Last night wasn’t exciting. There was no pit. The drinks were expensive. I felt a bit out of place with my face full of metal (piercings) and my skin full of ink (tattoos). But it was enjoyable and refreshing to see so much sheer talent on a stage.
I went to a jazz show last night on my own free will and enjoyed it. You win dad.