Jan DeGrass - Sunshine Coast - BC, Canada Jan DeGrass - Sunshine Coast - BC, Canada
© JanDeGrass.com  all rights reserved 2016 - website designed by Sun Coast Designs
Jan DeGrass - photo by Susan Pottery Jazz With Ella - written by Jan DeGrass Libros Libertad - Publisher for Jazz With Ella - Jan DeGrass
Jazz With Ella  - Written by Jan DeGrass Price: $23.00 ISBN: 978-1-926763-24-8

Jazz With Ella

Excerpt: 1. A PIECE OF THE KREMLIN LENINGRAD, JULY 12, 1974 The evening rushed past Jennifer—dreamy, hazy, fuelled by the bran-dy and vodka that they had sipped at Volodya’s apartment. When they arrived on foot at the busiest, fanciest restaurant in Leningrad they had to wait in line for entry. “You must wait. It’s all part of the Russian experience,” Volodya told Jennifer dryly. From the carpeted hallway they peeked around the corner and saw empty tables and a buffet that stretched the width of the huge, vaulted banquet room, effectively inhibiting the dancers who squeezed around it to continue their foxtrot. On the table was an elaborate centrepiece of fruit topped by a pineapple. “Aaah, pineapple,” she murmured, salivating as a sombre waiter waved them back. No one had taken fruit from the table centrepiece. It was not pineapple to eat, it was only for show. All part of the experience. They entered the steamy room. She felt Volodya’s hot breath tick-ling the nape of her neck as they were led into the throng. They sat at a long table, covered in white linen with greasy spots, amid the warring smells of smoked fish, sour grain, ripe plums. Vodka quickly appeared in front of them. They listened to a desperate band, rigid with the supposed cool of western jazzmen, stiffly strumming, unblinking, ugly, dressed in matching lime green suits of cheap fabric. The band played a jerky, al-most unrecognizable Satin Doll, a tune arranged with military precision. Volodya winced, his fingers tapping out a better rhythm. A short, balding man with shirt open at the collar loomed at their table. Volodya introduced Jennifer as a visitor from Canada. She did not catch the man’s name. There was some connection, some voltage, between Volodya and this man. They sneered like rival dogs and bared their teeth. She could not catch their mumbled conversation. Abruptly the current was broken. Volodya leaned back in his chair, innocent, fresh-faced. The newcomer looked over his shoulder repeatedly as if someone might see him in this den of decadence. “Dance with him,” Volodya ordered her. Surprised,   she   stared.   The   stranger’s   fingers   were   already on   her   wrist.   He   opened   his   mouth   in   a   grin,   revealing   several black   teeth   and   a   large   gap   in   his   smile.   His   breath   smelled like   sour   milk.   Dance.   Just   a   two   step.   One-two,   one-two,   and back    again.    Twirl.    He    pulled    her    around    the    dance    floor, breathing   heavily,   then   closer,   tighter,   until   his   belt   buckle pressed   uncomfortably   in   her   abdomen.   She   pretended   not   to understand   his   language   when   he   spoke   to   her.   Krasavitsa , beautiful woman,” he said. Just smile and twirl , she thought. When the music ended, he returned her to the table. Volodya’s eyes were on her. Thank you, they told her. The man sat with them, uninvited. There was more vodka, toasts to Soviet-Canadian friendship—this from Black-Teeth. A toast to Jennifer, the beautiful, amazing woman from Canada! This wish was from Volodya and a slobbering drunk from the next table who smiled an elastic grin. More dancing. This time with Volodya. Black-Teeth left without saying goodbye. Then someone was suggesting a toast to the cosmonauts, another was toasting his mother, another cheered a black- eyed seductress called Masha, who was not present to hear her toast. Someone passed a bottle of vodka up to the band. The musicians handed it around, took swigs, became more animated. The ugly bass player took four steps to the front of the stage, four steps back and the piano player flashed spasmodic smiles in between frowns of concentra-tion. The band broke loose on a popular modern song; the crowd roared approval. Only the waiters were unsmiling, weary. In a brief, lucid moment between drinks, Jennifer looked around her in surprise. She had been in the Soviet Union what?—eight, nine days? “It’s all part of the Russian experience,” she murmured. Then there were more stomach- turning toasts, the pungent sweat of bodies that shared bathrooms, the rigid motions of the jazz band. Volodya and Jennifer laughed, danced. By the time they left, bursting into the street, it was empty of people. His arm rested lightly on the back of her waist. She knew they would make love that night.
©  2016 Photography by Ray McNally
Jan DeGrass
Jan DeGrass Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada
© JanDeGrass.com - all rights reserved 2016 - website designed by Sun Coast Designs
Jan DeGrass - photo by Susan Pottery Jazz With Ella - written by Jan DeGrass
Jazz With Ella  - Written by Jan DeGrass Price: $23.00 ISBN: 978-1-926763-24-8
Libros Libertad - Publisher for Jazz With Ella - Jan DeGrass

Jazz With Ella

Excerpt: 1. A PIECE OF THE KREMLIN LENINGRAD, JULY 12, 1974 The evening rushed past Jennifer—dreamy, hazy, fuelled by the bran-dy and vodka that they had sipped at Volodya’s apartment. When they arrived on foot at the busiest, fanciest restaurant in Leningrad they had to wait in line for entry. “You must wait. It’s all part of the Russian experience,” Volodya told Jennifer dryly. From the carpeted hallway they peeked around the corner and saw empty tables and a buffet that stretched the width of the huge, vaulted banquet room, effectively inhibiting the dancers who squeezed around it to continue their foxtrot. On the table was an elaborate centrepiece of fruit topped by a pineapple. “Aaah, pineapple,” she murmured, salivating as a sombre waiter waved them back. No one had taken fruit from the table centrepiece. It was not pineapple to eat, it was only for show. All part of the experience. They entered the steamy room. She felt Volodya’s hot breath tick-ling the nape of her neck as they were led into the throng. They sat at a long table, covered in white linen with greasy spots, amid the warring smells of smoked fish, sour grain, ripe plums. Vodka quickly appeared in front of them. They listened to a desperate band, rigid with the supposed cool of western jazzmen, stiffly strumming, unblinking, ugly, dressed in matching lime green suits of cheap fabric. The band played a jerky, al-most unrecognizable Satin Doll, a tune arranged with military precision. Volodya winced, his fingers tapping out a better rhythm. A short, balding man with shirt open at the collar loomed at their table. Volodya introduced Jennifer as a visitor from Canada. She did not catch the man’s name. There was some connection, some voltage, between Volodya and this man. They sneered like rival dogs and bared their teeth. She could not catch their mumbled conversation. Abruptly the current was broken. Volodya leaned back in his chair, innocent, fresh-faced. The newcomer looked over his shoulder repeatedly as if someone might see him in this den of decadence. “Dance    with    him,”    Volodya    ordered her. Surprised,   she   stared.   The   stranger’s fingers    were    already    on    her    wrist.    He opened    his    mouth    in    a    grin,    revealing several   black   teeth   and   a   large   gap   in   his smile.   His   breath   smelled   like   sour   milk. Dance.   Just   a   two   step.   One-two,   one- two,   and   back   again.   Twirl.   He   pulled   her around   the   dance   floor,   breathing   heavily, then   closer,   tighter,   until   his   belt   buckle pressed   uncomfortably   in   her   abdomen. She    pretended    not    to    understand    his language      when      he      spoke      to      her. Krasavitsa , beautiful woman,” he said. Just smile and twirl , she thought. When the music ended, he returned her to the table. Volodya’s eyes were on her. Thank you, they told her. The man sat with them, uninvited. There was more vodka, toasts to Soviet-Canadian friendship—this from Black-Teeth. A toast to Jennifer, the beautiful, amazing woman from Canada! This wish was from Volodya and a slobbering drunk from the next table who smiled an elastic grin. More dancing. This time with Volodya. Black-Teeth left without saying goodbye. Then someone was suggesting a toast to the cosmonauts, another was toasting his mother, another cheered a black-eyed seductress called Masha, who was not present to hear her toast. Someone passed a bottle of vodka up to the band. The musicians handed it around, took swigs, became more animated. The ugly bass player took four steps to the front of the stage, four steps back and the piano player flashed spasmodic smiles in between frowns of concentra-tion. The band broke loose on a popular modern song; the crowd roared approval. Only the waiters were unsmiling, weary. In a brief, lucid moment between drinks, Jennifer looked around her in surprise. She had been in the Soviet Union what?—eight, nine days? “It’s all part of the Russian experience,” she murmured. Then there were more stomach-turning toasts, the pungent sweat of bodies that shared bathrooms, the rigid motions of the jazz band. Volodya and Jennifer laughed, danced. By the time they left, bursting into the street, it was empty of people. His arm rested lightly on the back of her waist. She knew they would make love that night.
Jan DeGrass