The pace was hot and fast at The Coal Bin, an underground jazz club on the east side.  The musicians looked at their instruments with sidelong glances at each other.  The guitarist, riffing like he was sent from hell... or perhaps like he would go there if he didn’t play well, was oblivious to all but the sounds that permeated the smoky club air.  The group was a quartet.  Officially they were called The Barney Cole Quartet.  Ordinarily Barney had his group The Swingin’ Shards, but tonight he was playing due to a gig Pete, the drummer had gotten but Pete felt that he wasn’t well known enough so he asked Barney if he could call it the Barney Cole Quartet.  Barney didn’t mind.  After all it didn’t require and practice.  Just show up and play.  The only risk was that if you sucked, then it was his name associated with the bad performance.  Barney didn’t care because he knew all the musicians and they were top notch.  Especially Sarah on bass.  She also played with the Shards so he was well versed in her style.  The music was fast and furious.  Pete set the pace from behind his kit.  He was going crazy too.  Smiling the whole way.  He was one of those players who just loved playing regardless of the setting.  He cruised along improvising around the jazzy rhythm of his ride cymbal.  Sarah kept the pace while Barney riffed leaving the sax player, Anthony Loch, to wail a frenetic avant garde solo over it all.  The room was in rapt attention.  An explosion was going to occur when this piece ended.  They waited and listened and absorbed and watched.  Some closed their eyes so only the sound could affect their perception.  Only the sound.  The lead got thrown over to Barney while Anthony walked to the side to light up a clove cigarette.  He sat smoking and nodding softly to the music.  Now it was just the three of them playing.  Barney started to take his lead farther and farther out into the stratosphere and Pete and Sarah just followed him.  So there was a wailing and rocking sound coming from the cramped stage area.  Having finished his smoke Anthony started back in on his sax and repeated a melody from earlier and the piece ended.  The crowd erupted and each member looked at each other smiling.  Pete’s beam just grew in intensity while Barney looked at Sarah and Anthony and then the floor smiling embarrassed.  It had been a good jam.  Structure and freedom all rolled into a piece that until that moment had never been played.  A piece that  too would never be played again.  A moment in time, a creation for the span of that moment.  The past had never heard it, the future would never hear it.  But the people in The Coal Bin had heard it.  No one else got to experience it.  No one else ever would.

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