One of the glorious things when on the road is the encounter with people who, in their sweet and sometimes disturbing uniqueness or cliche-fulfilling ways make your day, or night, depending. There was the chain smoking sex therapist, who kept on lighting up enthusiastically despite a complete loss of voice. The very drunk species of southern Bavarian "Stammtisch" inhabitant who had already been nudged towards the door by the be-dirndled waitress but kept trying to string a sentence together to fling at our poor but very sweet bass player; who, on his way out of the "Wirtshaus" spontaneously, and, well, in a very trainwreck-like fashion, serenaded me with an umpah band song that I had never heard, mimicking what looked like a broken clarinet. It was difficult to say... Or the lady on night shift at the hotel, who, at 1am, blessed us with an outer stream-of-consciousness monologue while we had a night cap at the hotel bar (very generously poured, I might add), and did NOT stop until we left, claiming she could speak various German AND Austrian dialects which, to my apparently deaf ear, all sounded the same (oberpfaelzisch, I think). But my favorite kind of "character" came in the shape of the jazz club owner, who, in 1986, moved to his present location precisely to run a jazz club in the basement of a commercial building, and whithout whom the place would definitely no longer exist. Who just loves to talk about jazz, recordings, musicians who have come through, the state of the business, more jazz recordings (oh Sarah Vaughan live in Kopenhagen! - must get my hands on that one!), meanwhile wielding first a broom, then a microphone cable and later a dish towel, keeping the customers lubricated and us musicians happy with his musical punctuations, thoroughly upbeat manner and, well, interesting coffee. Thank you, Eugen! I hope you stay with the jazz community for many more years!


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