Hearsay: Wednesday, November 21, 2002
If a Tenor Saxophonist Falls ...

Here’s a Zen moment for ya: If HearSay speaks highly, in this space, of a Metroplex-based jazzer, does anybody care? In case you haven’t noticed, Fort Worth is relatively inhospitable to jazz. (The only place where you can hear this distinctly American sound regularly if not daily is at an Italian restaurant. “I’ll have my meat-a-balls straight, no chaser.”) Now, not loving jazz as much as the next Texan doesn’t mean that we here in Cowtown are any more or less “cultured.” It just means (probably) that we’re simply, um, too occupied with other things to pay attention to something as wonderfully complex as jazz. The good news is that we Fort Worthians are an open-minded bunch. We like our fine art and theater, and we like our classical music and ballet. So when you get word from HearSay that a legendary “Texas Tenor” saxophonist will be playing the Black Dog Tavern Sunday, Nov. 24, to help celebrate the tavern’s fifth year of offering live jazz every Sunday night, your ears should perk up a little — ’cause you’re curious about cool stuff like that. You heard it here, then: Marchel Ivery will be performing with the jazz-jam rank-and-file this Sunday at the Black Dog. You will be there because you will want to show your open-mindedness to “new things,” like that crazy be-bop shit Ivery’s so fond of.

Now for a little trip into the future to do some next-Monday-morning quarterbacking: Here’s what we’re predicting will happen at the Black Dog Sunday. Very few non-regulars turn out. Either folks didn’t hear about the gig or folks who read this column forgot, in their typical haze, what the hell they had read and don’t show out. Sure, some friends of Ivery’s come, some friends of the players behind Ivery make appearances, and, out of pure coincidence, a stranger who had never stepped foot in the Black Dog lands on the bar’s doorstep. (Nervous Breakdown No. 21: Thinking about all this is enough to give a newspaperman a case of seasonal depression. It’s like screaming underwater, trying to write something positive about “The Scene” every week: HearSay could deliver a sparkling gem of a line like, “Coming straight off the A-Train after transferring from the (Col-)trane, Ivery dashes in and out of the blues, leaving behind vapor trails of aggressive, sometimes plaintive wails and joyous, brassy punctuation marks.” But who would care? Fudge. HearSay might go back to packaging egg incubators in southwestern Pennsylvania for $4.25 an hour — at least the eggs got something out of HearSay’s sweat.) At the Black Dog Sunday night, weekend warriors drink lots of beer, boys chase many skirts, old men shoot numerous games of billiards. The world stays its typical course. We can only hope that one person walks away from the gig a little more enlightened than the day before — because art civilizes us. It matters. A local music columnist on the other hand ...

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