the Edgewater Archives: A Portrait of Jeff

Summer, 2009.

Formally met Jeff on the elevator. He’s the resident Saxman. Goes out and plays under the Granville El platform many nights of the week and lets it rip, standards, new stuff; always the same smooth tone and impressive athleticism a chocolately-bottom-trawling growl and a smooth ascent to the top and the wind-in-the-treessigh, Ahhh in the trees wanting to say, yeah man. I’m constantly amazed at the musical quality that abounds in this city, from the most glamorous stages to the seediest underpasses. I can hear him from my open window and I like to hum along when he belts out “I Loves You Porgy.” He lives on my floor, and I’ve have a few polite chats with him before, and actually asked him about the Jazz Festival a few nights ago. Had a quick little conversation about Muhal Richard Abrams and his crazy modern sounds, and how we couldn’t really dig Madeleine Peyroux. It took a crowd of Chicagoans to make me realize my folly in labeling her a “jazz” musician. What was she doing up there? I was so confused. I had to leave that night. What was this stuff? The middle-aged suburbanites around me nodded their heads along with the tame beat and square guitar and realized I suffered from a bout of craziness.

Jeff’s lived in this building for ten years. A large older fellow with a penchant for flowery Hawaiian shirts in various shades of steel gray, blue, and green. The kind of guy you’d see wearing socks and Birkenstocks together.

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