The phone in my office rang twice. I let the machine get it. The voice on the other end sounded desperate.
"Hey, West, I need a band to play Bill Gates' house.
Rough life, I mused, planning private parties for billionaires. Imagine all the stress involved in picking out the hippest flower arrangements, trendiest color schemes, fanciest hors d'oeurves, and ice sculptures shaped like a school of humpbacked whales in full breach. All on an unlimited budget. Something tugged me out of my reverie. It was the desperate voice of my party planner friend faced with a genuine concern.
"West, pick-up! This is serious!...I need to hire a band ASAP... There's a finder's fee in it for you...three digits...four digits...five.
I picked up.
"Get Rod Stewart.
"He's in Tokyo.
"Keith hit his head again.
"I hear Marvin Hamlisch is free.
"Damn it! I'm not messing around! I need a hip hot Seattle band set up and ready to play Gates' house in four hours, or it's my ass!
"I didn't know your ass could play.
"West! Wait a minute. What's that music I hear in the background? Who are you listening to right now?
I cracked a smile and took an exceptionally long pause. "I'm sorry. Did you say something?
"Do you want me to beg? Okay, I'm begging. I'm down on my knees. Pease tell me who you're listening to!
"Some Seattle musicians. They just released their first disc. They're called Motel 5.
"Catchy name. Quintet?
"How'd you guess?
"Never mind. Who do they sound like?
"Imagine a funky drum-n-bass rhythm section under cool school horns.
"Alto and tenor.
"With electric bass?
"Acoustic, but this kid Hopper plays like Bootsie Collins flying around the electric.
"So, what's their sound? Like James Brown on grass?
"Close. Imagine Sonny Rollins and Jackie McLean riding scooters through Paris, circa 1957, in a scene directed by Jean Luc Godard with a soundtrack by Quincy Jones and Michel Legrand.
"Uh, I don't know. Sounds a bit too retro.
"Yeah, kinda like that Leonardo da Vinci crap that Gates bought a few years back.
"All right. But how do I sell it?
"Motel 5. How do I pitch their product?
"Man, we're talking about a band, not a roll of toilet paper. Just put them in the da Vinci room and let them play.
"Right, okay...just one more thing. What kind of dessert should I serve?
"Scientific Supercake. It's the third song on their CD.
"Oh that's rich. Billionaire rich. Anything else?
"Yeah, better keep a close eye on Melinda. I've heard how she gets around musicians.
Track listing: Where To Go; As For You; Scientific Supercake; Walking on Clouds; Travelin' at the Speed of Sound; Los Pantelones Caliente; Poi Hole.
Personnel: David Knirk: alto saxophone; Chris Credit: tenor saxophone; Chris Spencer: guitar; Matt Hopper: double-bass; Grad Rudolf: drums.