The Bassist, d.b.a.

The upright bassist doubles down on the pianists’ pattern, stringing out lines that alternate by measure with exaggerated physicality, as if somewhere inside his instrument there is a resisting force hampering his full-run freedom. He slaps and plucks at the lines, gathers them between his fingers. In the few spare breaths he has in the song, he flicks his hands out away from his fingerboard, palm down but digits upward, wing-like, freeing himself to carry on.

If you were one of the people casually watching from the central bar, you might see this as a showman’s move or poke-fun dance, but if you stood up close to the stage and watched him and him only, you'd see he needs it, really. He needs resetting within the song itself, needs personal resetting always.  In between songs he pokes his index finger right into the corner of his eye and draws the lid down as if releasing trapped vapors.  In between sets he is the first to reach the couch, and has to be pressed, exhorted, threatened to rise and duck back through the stage door.

All night long he plays those hard, blue notes.