Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jazz 1, Nature's Fury 0

Here's why I love jazz... and the Isthmus Jazz Fest, and the Memorial Union.

In the midst of the atmospheric equivalent of shock and awe yesterday, I popped on down to the Union to catch some of the show. I left right after the first tornado warning of the afternoon (there were several), and after a great set from Clamnation, Ben and I were waiting for the next band to come on when staff from the Union came in and informed us that, once again, there was a tornado warning.

As I'm sure they didn't want to be held liable if the windows blew in and sliced us all to ribbons, they herded us out of the Rathskellar and into the trophy room. It would have been an unpleasant, uncomfortable situation, had it not been for three musicians from Get Down Mister Cat.

Instead of parking on top of a pitcher and riding the storm out, as most of us were content to do, the band's ukulele player, trombonist and percussionist set up at one end of the trophy room and played a ten-minute impromptu jam session to take people's minds off the fact they were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a windowless room as the four horseman of the apocalypse rode past outside.

It was just a jam session, and a simple one at that. There certainly wasn't room for a drum set, and so the percussionist, true to his breed, made due with a drummer's brush and a Memorial Union lunch tray. It was only a few minutes until the storm passed and everyone was herded back into the Rat, but they were entertaining enough to whiz past.

But the performers from Get Down Mister Cat didn't see any reason to let Mother Nature rain on their parade, so to speak. Like any good musicians, they came to play. No stage, no amplification, no set list? No problem.

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