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Give the Gift of Scofield

Here it is the third day of January, and I am just beginning to recover from New Year’s Eve. Yes, it was quite a night of drunkenness, debauchery, and revelry—except for the drunkenness and debauchery part.

My sister-in-law Carol and her husband John visited us to help us ring in the New Year and to meet the newest mere cat, Samson. After the four of us had a fine dinner out at a local restaurant, we played a game of Scrabble. I must have played Scrabble at some point in my life, but it had been decades. By the end of the game, I was in a class by myself, soundly thrashed by everyone, achieving a score less than half of anyone else’s. Despite the drubbing, I would play again in a second, though. It was a good mental workout and fun to boot.

In preparation for the evening, we dusted off the TV and plugged it in so we could watch the ball drop. Carol used to live a few blocks from Times Square, and she remarked that she only walked there to watch the ball once when she was showing a visitor the sights. As much as I enjoy the energy of crowds, I can’t imagine standing in the cold all day just to watch a ball drop. After the Scrabble game, we poured a fine California champagne they brought, Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, and refreshed the cheese plate in anticipation of the countdown. The TV coverage on NBC-10 (I think) was good. After midnight passed, they cut away from New York to show the Philadelphia fireworks without any gratuitous color commentary. That was nice, and a refreshing change from “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” I am proud to say I used the last leap second of 2005 wisely by spending it deliberating thoughtfully over my list of resolutions. The next morning we tucked into waffles and watched some of the Mummers. Thus ended 2005. It was a great year.

For Christmas, John bought me a vinyl LP of John Scofield’s 1981 release, “Bar Talk.” (That’s not all I got. I also received Scofield’s newest CD, “That’s What I Say: A Tribute to Ray Charles,” and the concert DVD “Live 3 Ways,” so it was quite the Scofield Christmas.) I didn’t “discover” Scofield until the late Eighties, so it was interesting to hear this proto-Sco. It’s a fine record, but I can honestly say I would never have identified the playing as his. I recorded the Scofield LP onto my laptop using my newest software find, the open-source program Audacity, so I could listen to it on the train. So here I am back on the train with my snazzy new earbuds, head bobbing, heading back to the grind.

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