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Turquoise Café-Bar Europa in Pacific Beach - Experience Essay

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I decided to go to the Turquoise Café-Bar Europa in Pacific Beach to watch the band Sounds Like 4 on June 8 at 7pm. As I walked up, I could immediately hear the jazz musicians playing on the outside patio that was all light up with lights. There were vines and patio covers that were strung with lights, candles on the tables, and heaters around the tables to keep their guests warm. I sat down on the patio and than noticed that there was a full restaurant bar inside that had dimmed lights with a lit up bar that was centered inside. The crowd was pretty mellow but the band did a great job responding to the people and their interests. The small crowd made the evening and patio feel very intimate and connected with the artists. I actually enjoy it when I can hear the members discuss amongst each other which song they think would go next, or the laughing as they acknowledge the last note that each member finished the song off with. A few people in the back yelled out how much they enjoyed a particular song and the tone it set for the restaurant, while another person yelled out another song suggestion next to them. I could tell that the band was enjoying the fact that people were vocalizing their reactions and clapping after each song because it created a connectedness on both ends for us and the artists.

In the band members were Jordi on the electric bass, Jeff on the keyboard piano, Larry playing the drums, and Tad on the electric guitar. My initial thoughts on the band after the first 2 songs, sounded like an electric jazz feel with some swing and fusion mixed in. The first song captured an improv solo from both the piano and the electric bass while the drums kept the soft and mellow beat playing in the background. The keyboardist, Jeff was a very cheery man who played a softer riff during his solo and than crescendoed louder as he picked up the melody and explored different keys. The electric bass played a louder and more vibrant solo where the pianist and drums were playing a softer beat, complimenting his riff. Song number 2 which was actually Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock, without the brass instruments of course. The band did a really great job substituting the for the lack of trumpet that we originally hear in Hancock’s version by emphasizing the piano and having the electric guitar play the trumpets part. The crowd responded really well to this song since Hancock is such a known and appreciated artist in the jazz world. The original song has a very soft and cool jazz sound to it, but Sounds Like 4 played a nice fusion twist to it that sounded more electric and upbeat. I liked the way the guitarist played a simple strumming and plucking technique that held a soft timbre, which led the bass player into a minute and a half long solo.

In Rinzler’s reading he says, “Creativity in jazz generally takes the core tradition and modifies it…” (Rinzler, p. 129). I thought about the rendition of Herbie Hancock’s song that Sounds Like 4 played and thought how creative they were by changing the all around sound, transforming roles to different instruments and putting their own creativity within the piece. One of the cooler parts of the night was when a man sitting behind me yelled out, “Play Windows!” and the band members all looked at each other and agreed to play his suggestion. It gets better, next the man got up and asked if they wouldn’t mind if he could play it with them since his mom was in town, so he could give her a little treat to watch him play. The band was more than happy to let him join in and Larry the drummer stood up and allowed this man to step in for the song. The pianist, Jeff said before they began “..okay now lets not go too fast on this and keep a steady beat and tempo, sounds good?” They all laughed and began playing Windows and it sounded great! The guest drummer from the audience was without a doubt a talented musician and was able to play directly into the band’s vibe and really showcased his talent. A man walking by on the sidewalk stopped by the fence and yelled over, “Windows!! Sounds great you guys!” I had never heard this song before but the audience and bystanders on the street made it very clear that the song had a really fun and upbeat rhythm and to watch them throw in a person they had never played with before, in my eyes proved further the talent that each one of them obtains and their willingness to be creative. The electric guitarist and bass player stood over the pianist in order to read the sheet music since it was a song they hadn’t practiced before hand, but that was the exciting part about the way they meshed so well together. I thought about bystanders walking by who would never be able to notice that the audience member jamming with them, wasn’t actually a part of the band due to the fluidity and play and response that they each presented. The song ended and everyone was clapping so they asked him if he would like to play the next song too for fun, and he gladly accepted their offer.

The next song



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