Eregious, the limiting skyline Cramped crowded cityscape Fela Kuti licks the soul like a wound.
Like a nesting doll, an elegant coffee front sits inside. And another level down our host will be waiting for us. Jef will soon remind us where we are ‘This [room] was the janitor’s closet for the board and dairy depot. That was here many many moons ago. Kind of like an homage to what the space was and to me like a love letter to the neighborhood. What it used to be. The Cabrini Green projects, that’s what this neighborhood is to me at least what it was historically. They’ve had to rebrand it River North. This is Cabrini Green.’ We follow the track of the brown line to Field House Jones. I’ve been to this bar before so guiding myself and our gear to its final resting place isn’t an issue. For the uninitiated, it is a little bit harder. In classic speakeasy-style, if you want to find this bar, you’ve got to earn it. Don’t go to the barista and ask. Don’t bother talking to the front desk. That’s cheating. Just stroll on down the stairs to a long hallway like you own the joint. On your right is an ‘Employees only’ sign. Don’t be afraid, step inside. Let the space greet you and save your pictures until you’ve nested comfortably in your seat. (Reservations are recommended.) Jef was the perfect person to begin our journey with. He is measured, pleasant to be around, and not shy from sharing a great time with his guests. He used to be a DJ and you can feel it. His collection is synced up to a Bluetooth speaker in the corner churning out his favorites. You get lost on this little Island of 13 seats. We exchange pleasantries and stories gathered from our travels in the Caribbean and elsewhere. ‘Nah, I’ve never actually done that, here its a trip’ ‘Same I was in such and such a place last year have you been?’ ‘Hell yeah best beaches in the Caribbean.’ ‘Fuck you got to go” and other illicit tidbits that we could scrounge up to cut threw the tension. The covid hadn’t reached our shores yet. Things were great. All the while Brian is swinging between two tripods juggling our audio equipment, and gaging our battery life for the first interview I’ve ever done. He’s been the voice in the process that tells me when I’ve had a stupid idea “Hey what if it was a skit show? what if we shot at this guys house for an establishing shot?” His usual reply to any good idea I have had is “doesn’t sound awful” I’m pretty sure that’s what he said when I pitched him the bar show idea… Anyway back to this intimate bar, and Stevan racing over his notes. I’m not sweating, you’re sweating. Don’t interrupt our trains of thought we are trying to keep our cool. We are about to shout and clap action. The anticipation is dripping from the ceiling like the Janitor is mopping drunk. As the camera’s begin to roll I learn that Jef is a Chicago native. He was born and raised in Rogers park, for the most part. The most diverse neighborhood in the country thank you very much. No seriously look it up. Hundreds of languages are spoken in a place newcomers to our country call home. He spent his formative years in Virginia, and D.C. before moving to NYC. He explored DJing and found himself in another great cultural cradle of the country. When he returned to Chicago he began his service industry journey at the well known classic hideaway Money Gun. He related how this place taught him quick. No chance to get an order incorrect, Only time to take mental notes and learn the bar game. And it’s a fun one trust us. Money gun is tucked away. A stellar bar where the classic cocktail reigns supreme.
Caribbean Music and Spirits These are them. Jef’s recommendations garnered from a career of helping people be their best selves, whether through Music or drink.
First up is Fela Kuti and the album Expensive Shit. Apparently, the powers that be hated Kuti’s recording studio, and the empowering music it produced, so much that they raided it all the time hoping to find dirt on the Afro beats legend. They thought they were so clever when they managed to plant a joint on him. But Fela was smarter than that. He swallowed that roach. ‘No problem said the Nigerian police. We’ll wait til you produce the proof tonight. . Fela was a step ahead, and exchanged his production with another inmate, but that was some Expensive shit.
The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color is an album by jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk The review by Thom Jurek sums it up best “Excess was always the name of the game for Kirk, but so was the groove, and here on this three-sided double LP, groove is at the heart of everything… But the groove he moves through is one that is so large, so universal, deep, and serene, that it transcends all notions of commercialism versus innovation. Bottom line, even with the charming tape-recorded ramblings of his between tunes, this was his concept and it works like a voodoo charm. Here’s one for the revisionists: This record jams”
De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising. It is listed on Rolling Stone’s 200 Essential Rock Records, The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums. When Village Voice held its annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll 1989, this album was ranked at #1, Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Johnny Cash, Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, and The Turtles, all sampled. 3 Feet High and Rising is often viewed as the stylistic beginning of 1990s alternative hip hop (and especially jazz rap) thanks wikipedia.
THE WAYWARD MUSE DEEP DIVE
A brief history of Clairin: the spirit of haiti. A Sugar cane-based spirit made by ancestral methods. With Clairin the sugar cane is grown in an integrated manner. It pops up alongside other plants native to the Island of Haiti fostering natural biodiversity. This preserves the Terroir you can so easily taste in the glass. Sure the weeds are removed. By hand. Pestisides? What are those? Let the sugar do its thing. After 18 months the stalks are ready for distillation. Below is a summation from the Spirit of Haiti. On the show we had Clairin Sajous. “MICHEL SAJOUS-North of Port-au-Prince, in the Saint Michel de l’Attalaye, Michel Sajous built the distillery in the same place where his family has lived since 1960. The small distillery is located in the middle of the plantation of 30 hectares, planted with different varieties of cane prominent among which is the crystal, the last canes à bouche allowed in the AOC Rhum Martinique Agricole, and still cultivated by Neisson. Here, too, the cultivation is absolutely organic. The extract is then concentrated cane juice with the steam produced with the bagasse, and the resulting syrup can be stored before fermentation for more than a year.” TRIPLE “A” CLAIRIN PROTOCOL For Agricole rum, which is called Clairin in Haiti, to obtain a “Triple A” designation, it must be produced respecting the rules of the following protocol. AGRICULTURE
The varieties of sugar cane must be native
The cultivation of sugar cane must be organic; it must follow traditional production techniques, without the use of synthetic chemicals
Harvesting must be done exclusively by hand.
Transportation of sugar cane from the fields to the distillery must be done by animals.
The fermentation of sugar cane juice must take place solely through the use of natural yeast.
The fermentation should last at least 120 hours.
The distillation takes place within a maximum of 5 stills with copper plates in direct contact with the flame.
The spirit must be bottled as soon as it comes out of the still
Bottling must take place in Haiti.
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