They Didn't Know What Club It Was. . .
. . . Well, actually, Steve Borkenhagen (front right in the photo) knew quite well that this wasn't Club Stritch, the venue run by his sons, Mike and Max, which Steve had founded in downtown San Jose forty years ago under its previous name, the Eulipia. But Steve also knew, the moment he arrived at the 7 Mile House last Sunday with his girlfriend Teryn Corsiglia (sitting at Steve's right in the photo), that he'd found a haven for kindred spirits. He'd been invited to visit the 7 Mile by owner Vanessa Garcia, and he chose to come on the first Doghouse Jam following the shift to Pacific Standard Time. The band was playing "No More Blues", and there was no more daylight drifting through the doorways, only the alluring lavender glow of the stage lights, decanted over (from left, at the rear of the photo) Ben Stolorow, Dave Bendigkeit, Joe McKinley, Andrew Speight, and Vince Lateano. The crowd was spare --- you'll see guitarist Tom Lander and Nina Goldfeather at the tables just behind Steve and Teryn ---, but those lucky few found much fun, including, on "Like Someone In Love", a very rare three-way scat between Andrew, Dave, and Vince. In fact, Andrew, lowering his alto, offered a number of vocals, including "All the Things You Are", though his smartphone had to remind him of what some of all the things were. During the break between sets, and after a delicious 7 Mile supper, Steve and Vanessa shared some useful shoptalk. Steve then stepped outside to register his impressions with this blogger. "I'm really impressed with the gorilla nature of the whole operation," Steve opined. "It reminds me of the Stritch: cobbling together sales, any way we can. The room here at the 7 Mile is smaller, and here there's no cover charge, while at the Stritch we have a voluntary cover charge. But what the 7 Mile and the Stritch are both doing is really different from your 'pure' jazz club, in the traditional markets of New York and Chicago and such, where they have a lot of tourist business, lots of drinking, and high covers. A night out for jazz in Manhattan, you're probably two or three hundred dollars for a couple of people. Here, you can spend fifty bucks for two people, have food and drink, and be entertained by jazz players as good as anywhere in the world." Some players like Andrew Speight and Don Alberts (who sat in on Sunday) get booked at both the Brisbane and the San Jose venues. "We rely on them and they rely on us," Steve says about the musicians. "It's a symbiotic thing, to create this beautiful music, and nobody's getting rich doing it." People are getting treated the way people should be, though, and Steve and Teryn's experience of the 7 Mile was that, "it was friendly, and we really appreciated the vibe. The servers were extremely nice to us, and the food was good." Oh her way back to her car, heading off to momma Cleo's birthday party, Vanessa heartily thanked Steve "for coming all this way". "For those of us who need jazz, it's a fix, like a drug we mainline," Steve commented. "We do it because we have to." If you haven't yet visited the Cafe Stritch, you have to; check out their schedule and their menu online.