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Gonzo Report: “Soul Train to Coltrane” jazz night at Eddie V’s

Classics and Old Fashioneds, remembered

The Archie Thompson Trio - tips always appreciated
The Archie Thompson Trio - tips always appreciated

On a whim, I decided to check out some Jazz at Eddie V’s in Seaport Village. I’m not talking about 98.1-style Kenny G-sounding Smooth Jazz. As great a musician as Kenny G is, he’s not jazz. I’m referring to the greats: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz.

Eddie V’s enforces a dress code. There’s a sign as you’re entering that says it requires business-casual dress attire. They consider gym attire, sweatpants, hats, clothing with offensive language or images, and exposed undergarments too casual for the restaurant. So I put on some presentable clothing: a silk shirt and khakis fit the bill. Left the sports jacket at home because it was a warm evening.

Place

Eddie V's

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

It had been four years or so since I’d visited Eddie V’s. I used to take the love of my life on dates there. We used to call it “cocktails and conversations,” and she always drank stronger drinks than I did. I’d order a mule or a fruity drink, and she’d order a bourbon or an Old Fashioned. I remember that on one of our dates, I went up to the band and requested “All Blues” by Miles Davis. I could tell by the band members’ expressions that they were blown away that I’d even know the title of the song, let alone who composed it. The piano player came up to us during the set break and said, “I’m shocked you knew the title, and who Miles Davis is, because you look way too young!” I was 47 at the time and didn’t consider myself young, but thank you, sir.

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My nostalgia time-warped from those nights with my lover to the lounge-tastic ‘70s as strolled into the bar and heard the organ, bass runs, and tapping on the snare drum. The band for the evening was the Archie Thompson Trio. The first person I saw as I entered was Danny Campbell on drums. The last time I saw him (and gave him some coverage) was at Winstons, when he was playing with the Electric Waste Band. He no longer plays with them, because, well, things are ever-changing. But I don’t think he’s hurting for work, given the gig calendar he posts on his social media pages. We I nodded to each other as I walked past the band and put my $5 in the tip jar.

I peered around the long, oval shaped bar, looking for just the right seat. Eddie V’s didn’t seem to offer room for standing or dancing. A couple at the end of the bar that was closer to the band left the place and when I took one of their seats, I felt like Goldilocks — just right. I ordered Tito’s & Soda on the rocks. Timothy the bartender served it up with a purple dried lime for garnish. I had another. My bill for two drinks was $29.10. The people eating at the bar were eating salads and steaks and talking about their dogs. I researched the menu: salad, $15- $17; steak, $51-$70. Lobster tail, $106. My suggestion: Maine lobster tacos from the appetizer menu, $27.

Many of the patrons appeared north of 60. The band finished their set with a song by John Coltrane. Danny Campbell approached me with a smile. “Glad you came out.” It was hard to not put on my journalist cap on and ask him why he left Electric Waste Band, but out of respect for both sides, I didn’t. He told me the band calls the evening “Soul Train to Coltrane.” I asked him if what they just played was “Equinox.” He gave me a quizzical look. “Hmm, that’s tricky, because Archie plays one of the thousands of songs he knows, no set list, and rarely tells us what he’s gonna play. He just starts.” He thanked me again for showing up, said, “Nice silk shirt!” and headed back up on the stage for the next set. They started in playing “I’m Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” — by Louis Prima, not David Lee Roth. That got some ladies in the back of the bar to get off their rumps and start dancing. A gentleman wearing his dinner jacket joined them. Finally, there were people dancing, an unexpected highlight of the evening.

I decided to go back and get a closer look as the band was playing the Sanford and Son theme song. I sat in an empty chair next to the boppers and started to snap pictures of them with my phone. “Caught you!” shouted a lady from across the bar. She made the “shame on you” gesture at me. She had to be in her seventies, but she was still stunning, with smooth skin, icy blue eyes, salt-and-pepper hair put up in a bun, and a sparkling silver evening gown. To avoid (or enhance?) the creep factor, I went up to her and introduced myself. I let her know my intentions were to write a story about this locale. “That’s cute, honey,” she replied as she gave me a wink.

Lesson learned for future events: get permission to take pictures beforehand. You can catch Jazz at Eddie V’s any night of the week, but leave your flip flops at home and dress to impress.

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The Archie Thompson Trio - tips always appreciated
The Archie Thompson Trio - tips always appreciated

On a whim, I decided to check out some Jazz at Eddie V’s in Seaport Village. I’m not talking about 98.1-style Kenny G-sounding Smooth Jazz. As great a musician as Kenny G is, he’s not jazz. I’m referring to the greats: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz.

Eddie V’s enforces a dress code. There’s a sign as you’re entering that says it requires business-casual dress attire. They consider gym attire, sweatpants, hats, clothing with offensive language or images, and exposed undergarments too casual for the restaurant. So I put on some presentable clothing: a silk shirt and khakis fit the bill. Left the sports jacket at home because it was a warm evening.

Place

Eddie V's

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

It had been four years or so since I’d visited Eddie V’s. I used to take the love of my life on dates there. We used to call it “cocktails and conversations,” and she always drank stronger drinks than I did. I’d order a mule or a fruity drink, and she’d order a bourbon or an Old Fashioned. I remember that on one of our dates, I went up to the band and requested “All Blues” by Miles Davis. I could tell by the band members’ expressions that they were blown away that I’d even know the title of the song, let alone who composed it. The piano player came up to us during the set break and said, “I’m shocked you knew the title, and who Miles Davis is, because you look way too young!” I was 47 at the time and didn’t consider myself young, but thank you, sir.

Sponsored
Sponsored

My nostalgia time-warped from those nights with my lover to the lounge-tastic ‘70s as strolled into the bar and heard the organ, bass runs, and tapping on the snare drum. The band for the evening was the Archie Thompson Trio. The first person I saw as I entered was Danny Campbell on drums. The last time I saw him (and gave him some coverage) was at Winstons, when he was playing with the Electric Waste Band. He no longer plays with them, because, well, things are ever-changing. But I don’t think he’s hurting for work, given the gig calendar he posts on his social media pages. We I nodded to each other as I walked past the band and put my $5 in the tip jar.

I peered around the long, oval shaped bar, looking for just the right seat. Eddie V’s didn’t seem to offer room for standing or dancing. A couple at the end of the bar that was closer to the band left the place and when I took one of their seats, I felt like Goldilocks — just right. I ordered Tito’s & Soda on the rocks. Timothy the bartender served it up with a purple dried lime for garnish. I had another. My bill for two drinks was $29.10. The people eating at the bar were eating salads and steaks and talking about their dogs. I researched the menu: salad, $15- $17; steak, $51-$70. Lobster tail, $106. My suggestion: Maine lobster tacos from the appetizer menu, $27.

Many of the patrons appeared north of 60. The band finished their set with a song by John Coltrane. Danny Campbell approached me with a smile. “Glad you came out.” It was hard to not put on my journalist cap on and ask him why he left Electric Waste Band, but out of respect for both sides, I didn’t. He told me the band calls the evening “Soul Train to Coltrane.” I asked him if what they just played was “Equinox.” He gave me a quizzical look. “Hmm, that’s tricky, because Archie plays one of the thousands of songs he knows, no set list, and rarely tells us what he’s gonna play. He just starts.” He thanked me again for showing up, said, “Nice silk shirt!” and headed back up on the stage for the next set. They started in playing “I’m Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” — by Louis Prima, not David Lee Roth. That got some ladies in the back of the bar to get off their rumps and start dancing. A gentleman wearing his dinner jacket joined them. Finally, there were people dancing, an unexpected highlight of the evening.

I decided to go back and get a closer look as the band was playing the Sanford and Son theme song. I sat in an empty chair next to the boppers and started to snap pictures of them with my phone. “Caught you!” shouted a lady from across the bar. She made the “shame on you” gesture at me. She had to be in her seventies, but she was still stunning, with smooth skin, icy blue eyes, salt-and-pepper hair put up in a bun, and a sparkling silver evening gown. To avoid (or enhance?) the creep factor, I went up to her and introduced myself. I let her know my intentions were to write a story about this locale. “That’s cute, honey,” she replied as she gave me a wink.

Lesson learned for future events: get permission to take pictures beforehand. You can catch Jazz at Eddie V’s any night of the week, but leave your flip flops at home and dress to impress.

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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