Article about Jazz at The Merc 4/15/10

In the early 1900s it served as Temecula's general store, later dubbed The Mercantile, the place to buy a sack of flour, tin of cling peaches, and a dill pickle from the pickle barrel. Over the years it’s had several incarnations. For most of my life it was an antique store, a place to buy an old cavalry canteen or a lace doily for a pie-crust table. The brick building, built before earthquake codes, wasn’t safe, so the city thought to tear it down. But people rallied for its rescue, and at considerable expense, it was reinforced to make it safer. Now it’s called The Merc, part art gallery, part music venue, one of the best of its kind anywhere. Last night, for Thursday night is jazz night, I went to hear the Gunnar Biggs Latin Jazz Quartet at The Merc. I bought a fruit and cheese plate and a bottle of water, and sat with Gunnar’s wife, Bonnie, and other friends at a front-row table -- Gunnar is a buddy. Something about the old brick walls gives the house a soulful acoustic. Something about Latin jazz fills my soul with something akin to joy. Sit and listen to crazy-good musicians at the top of their game spin webs of musical complexity while bopping along to the Latin beat and get transported. A stellar night of music, a night when sitting still is tough. ---Gordon Johnson

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