All That Jazz

Thursday December 08, 2011 12:00AM
Today's guest Theorem writer is whorrace, an economics professor and jazz bassist.
So far, I’ve greatly enjoyed M’s whodunit series, so today I bring you my own personal version … with a jazz spin.

Our story begins in a small, smoky jazz club on the cross side of town. A band plays on a tiny stage while a sultry female singer belts out a few bars.

Her name is Lotta Green, and she’s a regular on the Philly jazz scene. Although she’s got plenty of fans in town, this show on the other side of the rails isn’t her usual game. It’s angled more toward the rough-shaven, gruff type of characters, the kinds of guys who, with only a little drink in them, jaw off until you let ‘em call the shots. You can tell that she’s a little uncomfortable; she’s more used to a diamonds and pearls kind of audience.

Despite the weird vibe, the band has been swingin’ hard all night, playing everything from Armstrong to Coltrane, every note tight and every hit on cue.

During a 10-minute break, Lotta Green mumbles to the guitarist, “I’m snookered.”

He nonchalantly drops his hands into his pockets and shrugs. “Go take a break in your dressing room, then. Just don’t drop the ball like last time.”

A look passes between them, in which we can decipher a long history of closeness that has since frozen over. Lotta hesitates as though considering giving him a kiss, but instead turns around and goes to her dressing room to powder her nose.

But then, right at the stroke of midnight, everyone hears a scream.

Upon entering, they find her slumped over her dressing table, the victim of a foul stroke of luck. The only clues to her apparent murder were visible scratch marks on the back of her neck and what seemed to be the list of colorful songs she had planned to perform in her next set.

Finally, when the cops come to investigate, one said to another, "I just know it was the guitarist. I can feel it, but I need you to help me prove it. How do you think he pulled it off?"

This is today,
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