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January 2012

Jeff Winke By

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January 6

The jazz club was closed during the holidays. Being ever diligent, The Doorman used the time off to reflect on his craft and create a new set of resolutions for the year having accomplished the majority of the goals I had set for the past year. My 2011 resolutions, which were handwritten with a gold-nib Lamy fountain pen on a sheet of cotton-fiber ivory paper secured from Crane & Co., are gold-framed and hang prominently in my private quarters. Yes, The Doorman is ..."among millions—from the eminent to the ordinary, from heads of state to heads of households, from European monarchs to Hollywood royalty—who have relied on the fine 100 percent cotton stationery made by Crane & Co. to help shape their place in history." Thus, 2011 professional proclamations have been replaced with slightly more rigorous 2012 resolutions—The Doorman is committed to improvement. To edify myself on my craft, I used my free time wisely. I read "Confessions from the Velvet Ropes: The glamorous and grueling life of Thomas Onorato, New York's top club doorman," which was a gracious gift from an admirer. Although Mr. Onorato caters to the jazzed-up Paris and Nicky Hilton "beautiful people," I am more fortunate to be serving the truly beautiful jazz-lovers who visit the club where I am simply known as The Doorman. I am ready for 2012.

January 7

As we enter a new year, The Doorman has a renewed resolve to ensure the jazz club patrons are welcomed into the sacred space of jazz. There is magic in the performance and the music that more need to experience. Yet, I feel a responsibility as The Doorman to usher in the true believers and bar the obstinate. In the past, I believed in conversions... thinking if the reluctant would enter and experience a few songs that they would receive the holy beam of jazz belief. No more. The conversion rate is so small compared to the disruption of the mellow aura created in the club. My approach will be: "It's a five dollar cover and if that's not agreeable to you, I need to ask you to please step outside, since there are strict fire code regulations about keeping the entranceway clear." Fortunately tonight, with the large crowd we had, there were no issues requiring my new vigor in doormanship. The crowd was terrific and brought a smile to my stoic phiz as I appreciated the power of jazz as an ethnic melting pot. In our nearly full club, we had a delightful mix of black, white, brown, and yellow...all seated within arm's reach of each other. Our act tonight is a powerful female jazz singer accompanied by a legendary pianist. There were only a few songs they performed that begged for a bass or percussion to fill in apparent holes. On one memorable song, the singer's brother jumped on stage and played his tenor. The reaction of the crowd showed that the saxman could have played more than one song with them. The club is clearly acoustically suited for horns. This is a great start to a new year.

January 14

As I entered the club tonight, I heard the Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills 1968 recording, Super Session, playing on the sound system. Tonight would be a blues night. As the blues band was setting things up, I talked with the guitarist who made the universal pointing-to-the-sky sign to indicate the music playing. "I love this album and listened to it all through college until a roommate traded it for a pizza... the f**ker." I commiserated, since Super Session is one of my desert island picks (you're stranded on a desert island for the rest of your life and can have only five albums). He went on to say, "I'm Jewish, so I really like Bloomfield since there aren't many Jewish blues guitarists." In addition to the Jewish guitarist (who sounded every bit as good as his hero, Mike Bloomfield), there was the band leader on drums, a Bigfoot-size bassist with a huge-ass (note: official technical term) 5-string electric bass, a wild and dramatically-energetic synthesizer keyboarder, and a piano keyboard player wearing a white shirt with a pattern of multi-color dollar signs screen-printed on it. We had a nice crowd that filled the club and included an ADD-hyper woman who when she wasn't eating her boyfriend's face would jump up and dance. I tried not to look at her because if my head was oriented anywhere in her direction, she would lock eyes and dance in front of me. I don't know if she wanted me to dance with her or what—I am The Doorman, I do not dance. The madness peaked when the band did its blues version of the Stones' Miss You and she with her anorexic skinny body and blues-beaten face did her best interpretation of Mick Jagger. With eyes squinted I could claim to say Mick was in our club.

January 15


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