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  • Autumn in South Florida, John Coltrane’s Birthday

    Posted on September 23rd, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    miami-waterway-palm-treesThere are only two indications that Autumn has arrived in South Florida: One, there’s more traffic, and two, you start to see school buses.

    I know, I know, I have a kookie tendency to brag about how glorious the weather here really is. Well, as that swinger Kid Rock would say, ‘it ain’t braggin’ (buddy) if you back it up’. Aside from a few nasty hurricanes, our weather is some of the hippest on the planet.

    Today I’m looking out my office window at the Hollywood/Aventura skyline. There’s some puffy white clouds, and a slight breeze is giving the palm trees a nice riff to dance to. To the west, over the Everglades, the daily storm clouds are getting together for cocktails before sliding over to the coast for an afternoon wash. Mostly, they’ll hang out for about a half an hour, then they’ll lazily make their way across the coast until they hit the beach and dive into the Atlantic. Then everything cools down, inviting the night. Can you dig it? I sure as hell can.buick-on-south-beach

    In my other life, back in the Philly/South Jersey area, I’d be looking out my window lamenting the last few days of decent weather before the long, koooold wintertime. The air is already turning crisp up north – and hey, I can groove to a little cold air around Halloween and Christmas, but the thought of nine months of icy cold wind biting my ears off used to really get me down. And I mean way down, lowest of lows. I had to skip that town, come down to where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain, where the weather suits my clothes.

    Now at this time of year, I look forward to the winter…8 months of warm, mild, dry days with plenty of sunshine and nights cool enough to wear a nice sport jacket and fedora. This is the best time to live the Tiki good life in SoFla. Drinks at the outdoor Tiki Bar, picnics under the palms at the park, air perfect for strolling down Hollywood Boulevard or Las Olas or any of a thousand other hot spots along the coast.

    Maybe tonight I’ll pull the hot rod out of the garage and tinker with her a little. Or maybe sit out on the lanai and blow some riffs on the tenor sax. Or just sit outside for some Tiki Lounge Talk with my wife Colleen. Or maybe we’ll go down to the Thunderbird Drive-In (now the Swap Shop Drive-In), put the ragtop down on the convertible and watch a scary movie, just like kids were doing 50 years ago.

    ***coltrane

    I would be remiss not to mention the birthday of the late, great John Coltrane, born September 23, 1926. I’m not going to give you a bio or rundown of his charts; you can Google the kat and find a thousand sites that can do that better than I. What I will lay down for you is this: The man took chances, pushed hard, real hard. He mastered the horn and the styles of jazz popular at the time he was playing, then got together with some smooth kats and invented a few new things altogether. Not everyone was hip to the craziness of Free Jazz, but those who dug it, dug it deep. That same man could honk for hours at a time and never play the same riff twice, or could play sweet on ballads and cool on the laid back stuff. A true revolutionary. If you’ve never grooved to Trane and need a start, try listening to Impressions or A Love Supreme for the fast stuff,  Star Dust for a ballad, and My Favorite Things for the mid range.