A personal memory of the Blue Note
As I hope you know by now, Yoko will be at the Blue Note in New York City on March 23 for two brunch shows. Get your tickets here.
I’ve been at the Blue Note many times over the years because of my job, but probably the most memorable visit I ever made to this storied jazz club took place 21 years ago, when I was just 19.
From 1991-92, I lived in Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan. I was a Rotary exchange student. One year after I came back to the United States, a group of students from my town in Japan came to New York City for a visit, along with two adult chaperones, one of whom had been my friend when I lived in Japan. I was living in upstate New York at the time, so I hopped on a train and made the six hour trip down to the city to serve as their guide and interpreter.
This was hilarious on many levels. I’d been to NYC once in my life and knew next to nothing about the city. The students and their chaperones probably new more from their guide books than I knew from my brief personal experience. Plus, both the chaperones spoke English fairly well and really had no need of a translator. To be honest, I think they were just being nice and wanted to see me again.
The second night we were together, after all the students were settled in their rooms, the two chaperones (my friend Miki and a man whose name I can no longer remember), knocked on my door and said “Let’s go to the Blue Note.” They knew I was into jazz and they both wanted to see this famous club. So we hopped in a cab and headed to the West Village.
It turned out to be a special night. The Heath Brothers Reunion Band was playing, and the place was packed. My hosts bought us all tickets and we got great seats. The Heaths were in fine form. Really cooking on a bunch of post-bop tunes and standards. It was my first time in an American jazz club, although I’d been to some in Japan. I was so awestruck by the entire experience, and I can remember that feeling like it was yesterday.
Have you had your first Blue Note experience yet? If not, why not have it with Yoko Miwa’s music as the main event? And if you’ve already been there, it’s always a great time to go back again.
— Jason Crane
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