Just a first word to kick off my visit to Sao Paulo. I had the second most uncomfortable flight I’ve ever had on the way here as I had an elephant man sitting on my left in the airplane, and a tall and large – but very friendly and interesting – man sitting on my right. We all had broad shoulders, and the result was that with me in the middle seat (in economy) it was PAINFUL having my arms pressed in against me all flight, especially for trying to eat.
Having said that, I noticed at one point that the man on the right was watching a film on the inflight system, and it was the recent The Doors documentary. So I immediately sought it out and watched this very interesting documentary with just original film footage and no interviews, and narrated by Johnny Depp. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was quite strange (when you’re a stranger) to watch this on the same flight in which I had begun reading the MOJO article about The Doors in the edition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Elektra Records. Synchronicity.
Arriving in Sao Paulo, however, I had a first experience that feels less than promising, and even a little weird. I was dead tired but decided to check out a bit of the territory for my musical adventure by visiting some of the places I played at last year. The best venue of all last year was a small bar in the Pinheiros area, on Rua Artur de Azevedo. It was called Lua Nova, or New Moon, and I stumbled across the bar on my last night in Sao Paulo last year and played in a jam session there with Brazilian musicians from 11 PM to 4:30 AM.
It was a dream come true, an idyllic evening. So last night I sought out the place just to make sure there would be another jam this Sunday, if not before. Guess what? I could not only not find the place, but I saw no building, store or other structure that bore any resemblance to it. I KNOW that I attended a jam there Lua Nova bar jam session in Sao Paulo in 2009. (Bad quality, but listen right to the end where you get the wonderful voices of the women singing…. I have another recording but it is more than 20 minutes long….)
But no, it disappeared almost as if I had never been there, as if it was a figment of my imagination or as if I had been in the Twilight Zone. But I will not give up. I will continue to look again, and perhaps with a little luck, I will find that this blissful location appears once a week only out of thin air for the weekly jam session – or perhaps it only appears on the night of the Lua Nova….
In any case, I continued my exploration of the streets of Sao Paulo and as I made my way back to my hotel I heard live music emerge from an Irish Pub called the All Black. So I went in and found a group playing both Brazilian music and pop-rock standards. I asked the band if they knew where I might find a jam session or open mic, and I got a dirty look in return. Oh well, better luck tonight! (Having said that, a client who saw I had a guitar asked me what I played and I in return asked her about any bars she might know where I could play, and she and her friend gave me a short list of possibilities – we’ll see….)