Miles

In late November 2007, Oakland’s famous Yoshi’s Jazz club and restaurant opened a new club across the Bay in San Francisco’s historic Fillmore District. On November 27th, Yoshi’s – S.F. celebrated its V.I.P. Grand Opening: a black-tie affair in the restaurant and an invites-only concert in the club featuring Roy Haynes and Yoshi’s Birds of a Feather Super Band. The group included Gary Burton, Ravi Coltrane, Kenny Garrett, David Kikoski, John Patitucci, and Nicholas Payton. I didn’t have a wing or a prayer for gaining access to this concert. This stellar and unforgettable event put San Francisco on the map as being home to a top-tier, world-class Jazz venue and restaurant. The invitees included local politicians, high rollers, movers & shakers, and the media, none of whom included me. However, as a very frequent patron of Yoshi’s – Oakland, a huge Jazz fan, and quite familiar to all of the Bay area Jazz clubs, I was approached by management a few weeks prior and asked if I’d be interested in being a volunteer usher/greeter in the restaurant for opening night. I said, “Sure, I’d be happy to!!!” Even though there was little to no chance of seeing the band perform, at least I’d be in close proximity and stationed right next door, as well as be part of an historical moment. So that November evening, I grabbed my best-looking suit out of the closet, starched my white shirt, shined my shoes, and sported a red tie. Yes, I was ‘dressed to the nines’, if I must say so myself! Standing just inside the entrance to the newly-minted restaurant and greeting guests as they arrived, everyone was in a festive mood, the ambiance was great, table chatter was lively, the aromas were delectable, and I thoroughly enjoyed escorting the beautifully-dressed ladies to their tables… :v) Overall, I had a grand time!!! Who woulda thunk? And although I only caught the tail end of the band’s performance in front of a capacity crowd, as we were allowed to stand in the rear of the spanking new club, I saw the same group perform, sans Burton and Coltrane, two nights later at Yoshi’s – Oakland. A great concert, indeed!

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