Following up on an invitation from my irresistible friend Q, I hastened down, after the family dinner, to the Master & Student Night at the 7 Mile, where Andrew Speight, Q's significant other and a significant mentor to many of the student musicians in the house, was playing Bronislaw Kaper's "Invitation". It was almost time for the musicians' own dinner, so Andrew, fellow SFSU faculty member Michael Zisman, SFSU alumna Lilian Wu, and scholar-at-large Ben Stolorow proceeded to serve up some "Scrapple From the Apple", with plenty of spice.
After the break, it was time to summon up the students, all of them high achievers, with tenor Tim Lin suggesting he has ears beyond his years. As possibly the evening's most dynamic duo, Tim traded lines on "Fine and Mellow" with vocalist Jacqueline Corona, the singer sounding like she could extend "yellow" on into Wednesday, the saxman sounding like he was ready to walk the 7 Mile bar. On keyboards, veteran Don Alberts twiddled the keys as if they might fit those racy rooms upstairs. Before dismissal, Andrew called, "I Got Rhythm", to which Lilian responded, "You mean the actual ---???". And yes, even though Lilian would have worked and reworked the changes many times before and after graduation, this was the original Gershwin, and an excuse for her former instructor to show off his scatting, before leading his assembled horns from the front of the performance area.
Even though the music ended and Chris had piled up most of the tables, nobody wanted to go home, they wanted to stay together, warmed by the extracurricular afterglow. Could school ever really be this much fun?
Andrew Speight and his students got rhythm. (Photo by Jeff Kaliss)