The Jazzcat

Round Midnight with Dave Chapelle

by on May.17, 2006, under News

Photos by Acel Troutman and Richard Jackson

Well, it was not quite Round Midnight technically but, if there is a piano and Dave Chapelle is in the house, it might as well be. See Dave, being the funny, humble, cool cat that he is loves him some Monk! He may love the soul, the funk and the hardcore rap but, the well diversified gentleman can get down on some JAdoubleZ as well

I was at the Westin LAX hotel, where I am every Wednsday evening from 6pm to 10, as Master of Ceremonies for the jazz performances produced by Merle Kriebich.and In-House Music. As I arrived, I discovered that there were film cameras set up in the VIP section of the lobby. Knowing that the volume of the jazz and the taping may conflict, I went over to avoid any problems before they happened. There was a small camera crew there and a woman host for BET interviewing Dave Chapelle. I spoke with one of the cameramen, who I just happen to go to college with, and he told me they were just about to take a break.

During that break Dave, just as cool as can be, just strolled around the lobby and spoke with everyone who came up to him. He did not have a crew, he did not have a posse, not a million crazy women following, no executive types on cell phones and wireless headsets, no publicist, just Dave. You have to admire that someone of his stature can chill and be just as normal as the rest of us.

The trio set was just about to end and I saw Dave checking out the band. I had the microphone in my hand and I said to him, “If you want to Rock the Crowd, the mic is all yours”. He thought about it but, decided not to turn the place on its heels with laughter.

As the band finished its last tune and I closed them out, Dave did migrate over to the piano. He sat down and started playing around with Thelonious Monk's “Round Midnight”. I said to the audience, “Does anyone here want to see Dave Chapelle play Monk?” They all cheered and Dave proceeded to work it out. The bass player and drummer from the band got back on their instruments to provide the foundation. Now, Monk's music is no easy walk in the park and Dave is not an accomplished musician but, he can get through a few verses like a pro!

I saw Dave Chapelles House party (the Movie for those of you who don't know) and in it, one of the cats said that Dave has dedicated his life to learning that song. I am all for any brotha who loves some Monk! So, if you see Dave Chapelle and there is a piano around, ask him to get down for you. He is a really nice down to earth cat I am sure that he would not mind!

LeRoy Downs

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