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Dear People at the Next Table at HR-57 on Saturday Night:

I understand the perception that jazz is background music. In some places, that’s quite true. A jazz club, however, is not one of those places. At a jazz club, jazz is what you might call the whole fucking point.

One would think that you knew that, having paid fifteen bucks to get in. However, Eric Lewis‘s name on the bill was clearly not a big motivation for you, since you were talking at the top of your lungs all through his set and causing people in the front row to glare back at you. If anything, your motivation was the empty bottle of Maker’s Mark on your table. (For which I grudgingly respect you guys—-I’ve never seen anyone, even a large group, finish a bottle of Maker’s Mark in one sitting.)

Still, it might have occurred to you that the other people who paid $15 a head DID want to hear the music. They probably weren’t that interested in your discussion of Barack Obama‘s foreign policy platform. Which is why by the end of the night people were choosing to leave their seats and stand against the wall, packed in like sardines, rather than listen to you anymore. Not that it helped, as your decibel range was in the high hundreds.

However, when it comes down to it, the joke’s on you. What you missed was one of the most astonishing musical performances of your lives. Lewis played an astonishing repertoire of classic songs, obscure rock music, and his own compositions, and he did it all with great sturm-und-drang and hands that I’d never believed could move so fast over a keyboard—at least with any reasonable degree of accuracy.

So I don’t even have to tell you to fuck off. You already pretty well did.

Cheers, MJW