i loves me some turrentine

joyride, 2004 -- by chad

I stopped dead in my tracks as soon as I heard the first few notes flow out of the street musician's saxophone, accompanied by his friend's trumpet. I was at the corner of Grant Avenue and Tillman Place tonight, on my way to meet a friend for dinner at Original Joe's in the Tenderloin.

Spinning around, I walked up and asked, "Is that 'Bayou' you just played?" as he finished up.

"Yeah, it is, actually." He looked me up and down, and took a drag off his cigarette.

"Sounds like Turrentine's version," I said.

It's a Jimmy Smith tune, but I recognize it most from Stanley Turrentine's "Joyride" album, released on Blue Note records back in 1965. My dad had that record, along with some Jimmy Smith. I pilfered all of them, and now have them here with me in San Francisco, where they actually get played from time to time (I own two turntables and a record player).

He grinned at me, and said "Yeah, that record is out of print. I can't find it anywhere."

"I have it. It was my dad's, an original Blue Note from '65, actually. I used to listen to it constantly when I was a kid," I told him. "I took it for myself, but bought my dad the CD because I felt bad for taking his music. He doesn't have a record player, so I didn't feel too bad."

"My brother had that record, and I'd listen to it constantly." He took another drag. "My name's Top." He stuck out his hand, and I shook it.

"I'm Chad."

"You live here in the city?"

"Yeah, North Beach."

"Man, I'm trying to get some gigs in North Beach. Tell you what, come see me on Sundays at Haight and Fillmore, from 6 to 11. I play there every week."

"I'd like that, actually. I love live music more than anything." I put a dollar bill in the open box.

"Here, this is for you." Top picked up his saxophone, and made it sing.

It was such a beautiful, haunting melody...and it spoke to me. Not with words, but emotions. I stood there, leaning against a building, and closed my eyes. It was like Top's soul was speaking to me through the saxophone, and I felt a wave of euphoria wash over me.

You see, music does that to me. Honestly, it's stronger and more satisfying than the best ecstacy pill I've ever popped (yes, I tried that about a half dozen times when I was younger). He finished the melody, and I opened my eyes. About a dozen people had walked over and gathered in front of us. One of them dropped a ten dollar bill into the box.

"I've got to bounce, I'm on my way to dinner," I said, actually wanting to stay a minute longer.

"All right man," Top said, smiling, extending his hand. I shook it.

"See you Sunday."

I walked away down Grant towards Market Street, and savored the dark, sad notes of Top's sax as they faded slowly into the cool, moonlit San Francisco night.

(note: Most, if not all, photos I take of old American automobiles are inspired by that single Stanley Turrentine album cover.)



At 04:33, Blogger rich said...


At 04:44, Blogger THATGUY_HEATH said...

Chad, your view of San Franciso is better than Fodor's could ever paint that beautiful city to be.
Beautiful pictures as usual!

At 07:24, Blogger Knottyboy said...

When a song really gets in the gut I've been known to well up with tears. Music will always be apart of this life I live. I can do similar things with music by pull artists and versions out of the ether. Passions will do that to a guy.
Charming post,

At 09:07, Blogger Mike said...

I love your old car photos.I love hearing an old song that means something to me and I get goosebumps and a feeling comes over me like you explained in your post.I never really could explain it but you just did.Thanks

At 11:30, Blogger D.T. said...

Is there anyway for you to post that song on here, so we could all hear it? You know...share the love.

At 14:47, Blogger Chox said...

Rich: thank you. :-) (cheeks slightly pink)

Heath: again, thank you. :-) (looks at shoes, kicks at the ground)

Knotty: You are I are very similar in that aspect. I grew up with music constantly in my ears, and it will always be a part of me.

Mike: Thanks for the kudos...most of my friends in San Francisco don't get my love for things automotive...but then again, most of them didn't grow up a scant 90 mils from Detroit. You get the same feeling from music as me...it's an endorphin rush, followed by a wave of euphoria, and it's one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It's what keeps me off drugs.

D.T.: Stay tuned...I plan on starting podcasting soon, with an hour-long downloadable radio show created in my bedroom that you can listen to on a portable mp3 player, or through iTunes or RealPlayer.

The best is yet to come. :-)

At 19:29, Blogger Todd said...

Music doesn't get the credit it deserves for bringing out emotions we never even knew we had. Can't wait for the podcasts!

At 03:09, Blogger Kiks said...

That description is so to the point. All I could say til now was "like a shudder, coming through the ears, rushing down the spine, from head to toe and slowly massaging my inside from the bottom"... and that didn't even get the feeling right.

And yeah, bring that podcast on!

At 08:27, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thats why you're my fucking favorite fucking cousin. music as our blood. still got all the mixtapes.

At 12:46, Blogger Sandi said...

I'm so glad I'm related to you. Even without all the fucking my husband so eloquently inserts.

At 19:35, Blogger Josie said...

Lovely post :) I love saxaphone music - live ones that reaches deep into the soul and leaves me with goosebumps, craving for more.

At 06:30, Blogger niwde said...

Beautiful. Just like you I love the way great music touches my emotions and gives me visual inspirations.

At 09:12, Blogger Dantallion said...

Another brilliant post, Chad. I could almost imagine myself there. Can't wait to hear the podcasts.

At 12:56, Blogger hidden said...

FUN TIMES ! Makes me remember back when I first moved here to GA and the frat boys sat on the front porch all night long playing Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers on their guitars. Loving GA.....Happy Easter stud. Sorry I haven't visited lately. Job has me popping like a firecracker. Take care.

At 12:57, Blogger hidden said...

Ooopps. Not sure if it worked ok. Im not keen to this new high falutin layout that blogger started.

At 15:26, Blogger wah said...

i'm jealous of yr camera!!!
i want it hardcore. grrr.

At 23:50, Blogger floots said...

Love the whole blog - words and pix - but this one is the one that really got to me. I hide away on the Isle of Skye and a couple of days back I was in one of the few shops and a guy behind me was whistling/humming half under his breath: Charlie Parker riffs from way back when! Your post echoed that, from the other side of the world. I should write a poem about it, but I'll probably just brew more coffee and put on some music. Cheers.


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