The young singer/songwriter and band leader from Marin, Matt Jaffe is turning 24 on April 20, 4/20, which in some circles and certainly not foreign to Marin especially West Marin, people smoke dope and get high especially reggae people.
“The Drug suite” was a nine-minute, three-parts song on Stew’s 2002 album “naked Dutch painter” which Hilton Als said was his number one album of the year in a column for entertainment weekly. “Arlington Hill” became a scene in “passing strange” which became a Broadway smash and Tony winner and certainly changed his life and maybe mine a little bit as his former manager; this is probably the 20th time I’ve written about Stew on this blog; I saw Stew and Heidi at Stanford about a year ago doing a James Baldwin series: “Florida you kill me” et cetera. I had seen Stew but had not seen Heidi in 15 years and she seemed happy to see me.
Speaking of birthdays I am turning 55 next week; on “Passing Strange”’s ascent to Broadway it workshopped at both Stanford, and Berkeley Rep. Stew and I and a third wheel (that’s not fair but I don’t remember his friend’s name) had dinner together at Tamerine the best Vietnamese restaurant in town —I think I paid of course; such is the nature of managers and their ex- clients. I’ve probably lost the relatively cute photo of us or us three even, probably just two. I remember recognizing Robbie Grove and Tom McGannon —two school mates from going high in Palo Alto from 20 years before —Gunn high, rather — And then Andy Grove walked in —Stop me if you’ve heard this story before or maybe it was never admitted in print— But I remember thinking, wouldn’t that be an interesting photograph, the toast of Broadway and the Time man of the year —Andy Grive being the CEO of Intel beyond having two daughters at my school. But Stew wouldn’t yield the Talkingstick to let me say my piece so I in bit of anger and frustration decided to let the whole thing, as Ken Kesey would say as quoted by the great jazz agent Reggie Marshall, use what you can and let the rest pass you by.
Somewhere among the 15,000 images stored in this device is a screen capture of the film of passing strange made by Spike Lee which I have downloaded to my television and during that song I think it is the exact Nidus of his career and transformation the lyric goes “everything’s all right“ and the band goes around that riff a couple times and then when he wants them to stop he clenches his fist and I froze that moment. Well I certainly hope young Matt Jaffe has more highs than lows. I hope he gets to play with Nick Lowe or even the band called Low who does an interesting version of Andy Gibb “I started a joke.”
And suddenly there was a meaning /Arlington Hill helped me see everything…
You know what I’d like for my birthday? Book a Stew show in Palo Alto with Matt Jaffe as the opening act.
Jon Spurney, De’Adre Azizi, Colman Domingo and Mark “Stew” Stewart passing strange y’all
This is Donna Avery, the proud Momma of someone in the picture above, can you Guess Who (That’s a clue!!)
It’s 7:20 A’M and I’m going back to sleep. Zzzzzzzz (That’s a clue; I Remember when stew came on my radio show at KZSU Stanford during the time that passing strange was in Berkeley and he sang a song but said that it sounded a lot better when De’Adre did it. He also had Angela Davis daughter Eisa As his mom in the show so to speak it’s complicated
Edit to add 11 minutes into my nap: since this is a Music blog more than it is just me me me me, I did download to recent Matt Jaffe records thanks to my newfangled magic handheld box thingy he does have a song called getting stoned on Easter which is a day after his birthday although I wonder if by stoning means the punishment specially the way Muslims and Hindus sometimes by our standards cultural relativism really underappreciated their daughters At the wrong term there’s an absolute moral imperative to not be head or stone your daughter he without saying etc. etc.
and: I am still here if you are dear reader: Matt Jaffe was in Redwood City just yesterday place I’ve never heard of, the room. There’s also a video of him rehearsing at Centercourt of the Warriors game. call him maybe he can write a new national anthem or already has: Besides being hard to sing, stars bagel better is about a flag? “Stars, Bagels, Butter” — the autocowrecked version of FSK’s already seems like a promising improvement in a Jared Bernstein and Walter Winchell but Shoberg way. Pete Broberg son a damn fine musician and dad held Dr. J to 11 points once, grandpa lost his arm but became a judge these could be great lyrics for that song and Not just ramblings. They were friends of mine who who who who who