Deloungifying jazz, weekly, at The Brass House in Austin

Photo by Cindy Rodriguez
Photo by Cindy Rodriguez

Fitting that the word “Lounge” appear next to “Jazz” in my weekly Thursday billing in Austin, Texas, only because I’ve written a few thousand words of feelings and memories surrounding the lounge scene. But we won’t be loungifying our jazz on Thursdays, 6-8:30 pm at The Brass House, 115 San Jacinto in Austin, Texas. Our trio is about inspired improvisational music, starting from but not limited to a jazz perspective, and with a deep embrace of melodic playing. It’s a solid three-name billing of Scott Laningham / Mitch Watkins / Chris Maresh, with some of the best Austin has to offer filling in when one of us is away. Mitch Watkins has been a uniquely influential force in the Austin music scene for 40 years and has worked his guitar magic with Leonard Cohen, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Barbara Dennerlein, Joe Ely, KT Oslin, and many others. Bassist Chris Maresh is equally at home and innovative on both acoustic and electric bass and has worked with Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, Monte Montgomery, Bob Schneider, Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. And you can read about me HERE. Suffice it to say the three of us have a wonderful time every Thursday playing originals, standards, and quirky covers. We hope you’ll join us, whether you’re local or traveling through town. I plan to post some video and/or audio of the group soon here on the blog, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from my unpublished Lounge works, where I seek, by way of writing, to rid myself of many Vegasian mental images acquired during earlier years of playing gigs which did not rise to the level of Thursdays at The Brass House. I also offer these humorous asides in the spirit of doing my part to help free humanity from the grip of jive. 

The earliest evidence we find of lounge is, of course, in the Garden of Eden. Yes, there was a lounge there — Club Tree in the Middle. The snake was the first lounge singer. Think about it . No pockets, lots of hissing. “Bring it down, bring it down! I’d like to introduce my band.” He didn’t just forget their names, he forgot them entirely. We have no record of his band at all which, for me, is in and of itself conclusive regarding the singer thing. He had a smoke machine ‘(there went up a mist’), he was a ladies’ man, and he basically wanted to get everybody naked (even though they already were). We know the Lord God then cursed the singer snake and made him crawl on his belly in the dirt. This has translated into the modern lounge move of sliding across the dance floor on one’s bent knees, head arched backwards, arms held skyward in a pleading gesture.

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