One of the reasons I feel blessed to work where I do, even under the uncertain climate in which HotHouse is currently embroiled, is the view from the gallery. There's an distinctly urban romanticism about looking at the skyline from the gallery, fog clouds enveloping the tops of the skyscrapers, the elevated trains passing by, sparks flying from the thrid rail as a jazz trio like e.s.t. forms a groove onstage. Before the superdorm in the right of the picture was built, people had a clear view of the Harold Washington Library. Now the Library Towers across the street is quickly rising, eventually blocking the view. When I finally can't see it, it'll be like a chapter in a book closing.
I've worked in the South Loop for over seven years, and I've been witness to the changes both in and outside work. I'm not even the same person who started working at HotHouse as a part-time bartender. I was angrier then, confused, depressed and placing everyone I cared about at a distance. I know I needed help, but was too proud to ask. Still am today, to an extent. The major difference is that I'll ask for help now if I feel I need it.
So take the time to really look at the picture while listening to this song I included here from the Ensbjörn Svennson Trio, who absolutely brought the house down last night. Unlike here in the States, where Wynton Marsalis and his allies at Lincoln Center seem to have successfully consigned jazz to the status of Latin, and where smooth jazz and jazz vocal are where advertisers place their marketing dollars, jazz music is treated as a vital, living organism in Europe.
e.s.t. is just one example of the boundaries being pushed by jazz musicians. Their music is fearless, ambitious, and succeeds because it knows no bounds. Like the picture at the top of this post, the title track from their album "Tuesday Wonderland" also carries with it a distinctly urban romanticism.
Rest in Peace, Andrew Hill.