As our intrepid jamming journalist, Paul Mondesire, has been called away on work duty, once again the journalist junior, Roger Meier, takes over. The dead of summer often brings on a series of quiet sultry Thursdays, with a minimum of imported talent. However this past few weeks has been anything but mundane, with a steady invasion of Seattleites along with other shredding guests.
We had just recovered from Mary Lowry, who met her guest jammer initiative responsibilities with gusto, when a second wave hit our shores. On Tuesday, fresh from the Worlds, Charlene Powell, Ryan Young and Emma Kahle dropped in on their sojourn home.
No sooner than their flight had landed on Tuesday, Ryan and Char were at the meadow with their tour guide and host, Doug Simon. Ryan has been jamming every day for about two weeks, and is dedicated to keeping the streak going during his stay here. Clearly being a tourist is second fiddle to being a jammer. After quiet meadow jams on Tuesday and Wednesday we were building towards another epic Thursday.
The weather here in NYC has returned to the normal August hot, humid days with constant threats of thunderstorms each afternoon. Even though we seemed to escape the rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, it did not appear we would be so lucky Thursday. As I left my house, headed to the meadow, I went back for an umbrella as the skies looked scary and the winds were scurrying in anticipation of a squall. Of course us NYers “do not need no stinkin’ conditions”, so without hesitation I continued out to Central Park. As I neared the meadow it looked oddly quiet, then I realized in fact the red flags were up and the meadow was closed. No bother, just take a left and head over to the bandshell. Personally I often prefer the bandshell. The footing is very secure and spinning is easier on the octagonal tiles, and we get extra attention from the steady stream of tourists and other pedestrians. I got concerned though as I neared the bandshell I heard a loudspeaker and saw some organized commotion. Sure enough there was preparation for a performance of “Children of Hercules” in the bandshell itself. However I saw a healthy showing of jammers and still plenty of space to get our game on.
Just about all the regulars were in attendance, with the exceptions of Tall Paul, and the Oracle himself. Mr. Hudoklin is recuperating from some minor surgery and is expected to be back at full jamming speed soon. His spirit was there all day, especially when during the Greek Drama the narrator boomed “Do Not Flout the Oracle!”. We all took up this mantra, as one flouts the Oracle at their own risk. Guest jammers were also in full display, with Alan Caplin from BoTown making his second appearance in a row (could be be Yellagible soon?) and Gary Auerbach making one of his regular drop ins. We were also graced by Jim Dodelson from SoCal, fresh from his own European adventures (London Olympics and brief Amsterdam jam). And of course Char and Ryan were jamming for their third day in a row here in NYC, and Emma was jamming in full “Big Dog Inside” style. Too many jams remember details, but I personally had a great jam with Emma, and later my Stuy High Alumni Brother, Jimbo. At what seemed to the end of the day, Robert Fried sauntered by, fresh off his new job. Rob now gets in late, but does not hesitate to mix it up ASAP. It was getting dark, but Rob and Ryan started to go at it full force. Rob does not start slow, hitting double spinning crow virtually out of the box. He followed this up with Double Spinning “No Bones” Flamingitis. Ryan was holding up his end of the jam with multiple double spinning catches and fast feet to get to just about anything within human reach. I thought, OK, this is just the end of a great day, but no, oddly enough there was plenty of jamming to go. Rob and Ryan were soon joined by others and before you know it, jamming by the bandshell streetlights, a mob-op was in full force.
One bonus of playing at the Bandshell is that we are not given the boot at sundown as we are in the meadow. The park officially closes at 1 am, so we had plenty of time at our disposal. Chrissie was out with her special blend of liquid elixir, and a few locals had brought an assortment of craft brews. With old and new friends abounding the party was just getting started. My cell started vibrating and it was my lovely wife, Tricia, at Malachy’s, wondering where the gang was. I told her the crew preferred to be out in the glorious evening air, rather than at our infamous Stinky Bar. So in two shakes of a leg, Tricia made it out to join the party.
By the time Tricia and I headed back to Chez Meier, most of the crew were continuing to regale the glorious evening. Once again we had great weather karma and enjoyed a beautiful summer eve.
We have a one week reprieve before the big finale. Tommy Leitner is headed this way for the August 23rd A*T gathering. Come on down for what is sure to be another epic experience.