Bob Sheppard at Hollywood and Highland

(2012)
 
Hey y’all….if ya wanna hear a great saxophonist, I mean a seriously great saxophonist up there with all the seriously great saxophonists, then check out Bob Sheppard at Hollywood and Highland tonight (that is, Tuesday, July 24). It’s a free gig, 7-9 pm, in that trippy interior courtyard with the Intolerance elephants overhead and tourists everywhere, shuffling and staring and wearing stupid tee shirts they picked up on the Boulevard. It’s utter madness outside, demented superheroes and people who will never wash their hands again after touching John Wayne’s bootprints and once we saw a police chase at 5 mph, a hundred police cars with lights flashing proceeding ever so slowly down Hollywood Boulevard and the lady running out of gas right there in front of the Chinese Theatre and tourists rushing into the street to touch her car and as she emerged cops pleaded through bullhorns for the people to stay clear of the vehicle, the suspect might be armed, but it was Day of the Locust, baby, nothing could stop grandma from getting that photo. The suspect emerged, unarmed, exhausted, and laid down on the pavement. Superman rushed into the street to pose in front of the scene. Metropolis was safe from evil again.  A Michael Jackson impersonator moonwalked past. Spiderman watched, then slunk into the shot.
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Inside the courtyard just steps away all was bliss. I can’t remember exactly who was playing (might have been the Clayton Brothers) but the music swinging, the wine good, the vibe perfect. The music is almost always swinging, the wine good, the vibe perfect. Or at least fun. Bob Sheppard is one of my favorite sax players in this town, and when he launches into a solo the melody goes places I can’t follow because it’s so over my head but I love every second of it, I just wait till he comes flying back into the head and you can hear the tune again. That is the art of improvisation, man, a very swinging improvisation. He always has the best players, too, heavy cats, dudes on his level.  Basically, there’ll be two sets worth of state of the art jazz, and he may or may not make it easier for the folks to dig, who knows, but it ought to be the real thing, pure and unadulterated and uncompromising. We’ll see if he takes it outside for the folks. Maybe he’ll take it outside for the folks outside, wander out to the Boulevard blowing those crazy scales for Spiderman and the Michael Jackson guys. I’d pay to see that. But wouldn’t have to because it’s free.
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I wonder what ever happened to that car chase lady. It was the most pathetic car chase I ever saw. I mean you could have pushed that car faster, all its tires punctured, and gas running out right there where just a couple weeks before giant inflatable robots stood for some movie premiere. I remember we came out onto Hollywood Blvd after a one of these Tuesday night gigs  and saw them, looming. Then around the corner there was another giant inflatable robot in reserve, just in case. Just in case what I’ll never know.
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Anyway, we’ll be there tonite. You don’t see Bob Sheppard’s kinda jazz that often anymore, at least not outdoors in front of God and everybody. It’s mostly singers doing standards nowadays. That’s what people want, singers doing standards. It’s comforting. Me, I like an edge sometimes. Well, most of the time. Anyway, if you ain’t doing nothing head over to Hollywood and Highland tonite. Hell, it’s free. Parking is three bucks, cheap. A ten spot will get you two glasses of wine and a mess of cheese and crackers and fruit, or just sneak in some hooch and save the bread. The night will be gorgeous and you can hang and listen and talk and check out the ladies, so I’m told.
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And say hi to Spiderman.  Actually, don’t. You’ll have to give him money.

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