We were fumbling around on the stage trying to figure out what to play next when this guy shouts, “Hey, do you know ‘Blues for Alice'”? Now normally this isn’t a bebop crowd, it’s a late night lounge thing, mostly standards and bossa novas, nothing too frantic. But hell, we all like bebop and especially a Parker tune, so we all look at each other. Jim on alto says he loves it, Joe on bass looks at the changes and says he can do it, no sweat, Alan on vibes knows it too. Reggie, our drummer only wants to know the tempo. They all look at me….
In the late 60’s I had a good gig playing down in the French Quarter while I was going to school uptown at Tulane U. Well, not the French Quarter, exactly. The Top o’ the Mart was a revolving bar on the top floor of the World Trade Mart, at the foot of Canal Street. Canal Street is bounded on the East by the French Quarter and the river. West of Canal is the business district. It’s a posh bar that rotates with great views of the Mississippi and the Quarter. I had met this vibes player, Paul Defours who needed a guitar to fill out a quartet and do a little late night modern jazz, not the traditional stuff like they play at Preservation Hall and Pete Fountain’s. So four nights a week, 9-12, I was there, doing jazz standards mostly—and some bebop.
Now bebop is difficult. The runs of notes are all over the place and the chord changes come fast. I’d hit clunkers now and then. They tell you there are no wrong notes in jazz. Don’t you believe it. See what happens when you lead with a G sharp over an E minor 7 chord or play an F sharp in B-flat Lydian mode. Ouch!
Anyway, one night we’re playing and I notice this woman at the bar. She is absolutely gorgeous. She is a bit older than me, in her thirties, has long platinum blonde hair and she’s wearing this black sheath dress that hugs her figure like it was painted on. She’s on the slender side but with a really nice bust. I saw her get up at one point to take a powder and was treated to a rear view of a superbly shaped ass as she sauntered toward the girls room.
Way out of my league, right? Well damn, if at the break she didn’t buy me a drink. She asks me my name. Charlie, I tell her. She says she is Anna. She has an accent, like Russian, I’m guessing, but her English is excellent. I hadn’t pegged her as a jazz fan, but then she asks me,
“Do you have the difficulty with rapid eighth notes over the Parker blues changes?”
That took me aback. “You’re very perceptive. Not many people notice those mistakes, thankfully.” That set we’d done “Au Privave” and “Blues for Alice”.
“Otherwise you play very well,” she said.
She was an expatriate, she said. An heiress descended from Polish royalty, she said. She had managed to escape the Soviet Union with some money intact and she was traveling all over the US, trying to decide where to live.
“I come to New Orleans for a time because I love the jazz music,” she said. “Maybe next I go to Kansas City, the home of Charlie Parker,” she laughed.
After the last set she came up to me. “I can help you, I think. You can learn to play better, this I know.”
I asked her if she was a music teacher, she said no, but she had a method. “We start tonight if you like. Come with me to my apartment.” She said this with a coy smile. And I thought, hot damn! After our last set I packed up my Gibson ES 175 in a hurry. As I prepared to leave with the hot countess or whatever she was, I got thumbs up and envious looks from the rest of the guys.
She had an apartment on Royal Street in the Quarter, a block down from the Royal Orleans and right next to The Court of the Two Sisters. You could hear the music from Pat O’Brien’s right on the other side of her courtyard.
Well, we’d no sooner got there when she slipped off into her bedroom. She emerged a few moments later and I nearly lost it right there. She looked breathtaking in a lacy black bra and matching sheer panties, with black stockings and a garter belt. Then she said, coyly, “Why do you need all those clothes on, Charleee?” That’s the way she said my name, drawing out the “eee” at the end. I wasted no time and practically tore my clothes off. Then she took me by the hand and led me into her bedroom. She pulled me down on the bed and started with kissing and touching and fondling and of course I reciprocated. But just when things were getting pretty heated up she stopped and got out of bed.
“Now, Charlee, I show you something. Roll over for me on your front,” she said. I had no idea what was going on. Some game? Ok, I’d play. She was gone a minute then came back with some stockings. She took the stockings and tied my hands and feet to the posts of her big four poster bed. I was thinking, ahh, a kinky game. I had a hard on that was digging through the mattress at this point. Then she took the pillows and shoved them under my middle which made my ass stick up. All of a sudden I felt a little uneasy. What the hell was this? Well I sure found out when she went into a dresser drawer and pulled out a wicked looking riding switch. It was a long thin tapered thing that whirred ominously as she swished it through the air.
Now I was alarmed. This game was getting out of hand. But I was tied up good. “Now,” she said, “here is the music lesson. I count six times tonight you make the wrong notes. So I give you six lashes. Are you ready? Maybe next time you practice more, no?”
I blubbed and squawked and told her to ‘untie me, dammit!’ Like right now! But then she just smiled and said if I took my punishment like a good boy, she’d pleasure me “all night long, if you wish”. That shut me up. Little Charlie told big Charlie to grin and bear it.
She told me, “eyes front” then tapped my ass with that switch. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. I heard a whine and Crack! that thing landed right across my bare hiney. Let me tell you, that lick was pure hell. I let out a screech. Then whack! She did it again. It was like a red hot wire had been laid on my butt. Four more times she whipped that wicked switch down on my ass. Four blazing stingers that stayed with me for days. But she was true to her word. After whipping my ass but good she untied me, rolled me over and we screwed our brains out.
I left in the morning exhausted. She’d been insatiable, but good grief it had been hot. I wondered if that had been a one-night fling, but the next week, there she was again. At the break she motioned for me to come over to her table. She gave me this wicked smile and said, “So have you practiced, Charlee? Will you play Blues for Alice? I listen very carefully.”
Actually I had been working on it, memorizing the melody, working through all the changes. And by now the memory of that switching had faded so I gave her this cocky grin and said, “Sure.”
Well we played it and a few other tunes like “Boplicity” and “Groovin’ High” –bebop classics. I think the only problem I had that night was the bridge to “Joy Spring” -it changes modes chromatically every two bars. After the gig, sure enough she invites me to come with her again. “I tell you how you did when we get to my flat.” She said this with a wicked thin smile like she was daring me. I knew what it meant. If she thought I’d missed some notes, that switch was coming out. I have to tell you, my ass cheeks clenched, but I said, with as much bravado as I could muster, “Of course. Let’s go.”
I have to say I did better. Still, the bill was four. “I will tie you if you wish,” she said. I said no. This time, on her command, I bent over and touched my toes. I could hear her behind me and I felt the infernal tapping of that switch. Then whissh…crack! I stifled the urge to scream. Christ it hurt! Then the next. I let out a strangled “Yeowwch!” I got four licks with that whippy switch that scalded my ass with four lines that I could still see in the mirror a week later. But the consolation prize was another night of hot sex with this gorgeous creature.
And she taught me things. I’d be on my knees worshipping at her musky womanhood and she’d tell me, “Yes, right there, ahhh…” or if I was inside her she’d say “you go too fast…go slow, Charleee.” Sometimes she’d even keep the little whip in her hand and flick my bottom with it to emphasize a point. I leaned fast.
Now I was hooked, but I was determined to get my playing to another level. So I woodshedded like crazy, running scales and modes until I my fingers would fly without my thinking about it. So the next time she came in, I was ready. And, I was brilliant. She knew it too. After the last set she sidled up to me and said, “You come with me now. I give you surprise.” Her eyes were pure lust.
She told me to wait while she went to her bedroom. She came out wearing a filmy negligee, but I froze. She was carrying that switch. I was steeling my self to pay for a night of mind blowing sex with another ass whipping when she knelt at my feet and offered the switch to me with both hands. “This is your reward, Charleee. I hear Blues for Alice. You play perfect. Tonight I am, how you say, the slave girl for you.”
I took the switch and told her to get up. She rose and slipped off her negligee. Underneath she was gloriously naked. She said she wanted to be tied, and brought out stockings. As I said, her bed was a big four poster so I tied her wrists to the uprights and her ankles to the legs so she was in a standing “X”. She looked at me and told me she should have 10, the total number she’d given me. Then she sort of hollowed her back and stuck her bottom out, ready for the whip.
I was floored but so turned on. So if this was what she wanted….I told myself, ok I’d do it. I whipped the switch through the air a few times to get the feel of it. It was very flexible and light—and I knew from experience it stung like hell. I lined it up on her delectable ass and tapped her a few times, then I brought my wrist back and let fly. The whip made that whiney “whirr” sound and landed with a whiuick! Right across the fullest part of her behind. Her cheeks indented then sprang back and a line of red appeared. She hissed a little intake of breath, wriggled a bit, then stuck her ass out again as if boldly asking for more. And I thought well, this is what the lady wants, so I laid more of those firm, deliberate licks right across her bottom. Her bottom cheeks flinched as the switch struck, but she kept sticking it out. I took my time and aimed each one so that the strokes formed a ladder of red lines.
This little dance took a few minutes. I’d land a stroke with the switch then wait for her wriggling to stop. When she was still, I’d line up another. At one point I stopped and she turned and said, “You must not stop, Charlee. Do it again.” So I did, all ten times. Then I dropped the switch and came up behind her. I ran my hand up between her legs. She was wet and slippery and she moaned with pleasure. “Now, please, Charlee, now I want you.”
I needed no second invitation. This whipping scene had made me as hard as blue steel. I shucked out of my pants and slid into her from behind, cupping her breasts in my hands. Her nipples were hard and I pistoned in and out of her as she pushed her ass back, in time to my thrusting. After we both came, I untied her and we spent the rest of the night in passionate embrace.
So that was how it went, only now, with my chops finely honed I was rarely on the wrong end of the switch, and it was Anna who took the licking. She incorporated other little games as well. She emerged from the bedroom one night as a Catholic schoolgirl, like you might see at Sacred Heart. She wanted to be spanked, across my knee like a naughty girl. So I put her over my knee, raised her skirt and pulled down her little white panties before smacking her wobbling rear cheeks with my hand for several minutes until her bottom was hot and red.
Another time she wore a baby doll nighty and handed me a short leather strap to spank her with. This one made a sharp crack! as it smacked her bottom and I even worried that the crowd at Pat O’Brien’s might hear us. An especially memorable variation was the time she came out in harem pajamas and carrying a short whip like a miniature cat ‘o nine tails. She wanted to be tied upright to the bedpost, have her harem pants lowered and leathered with that little whip until her ass cheeks glowed. As always we ended up screwing ’til dawn, it seemed.
Then I didn’t see her anymore. A week went by. Then two. Still, no Anna. “Your girl friend run out on you Charlie?” asked Paul one night as we packed up. I had to say I didn’t know. I finally decided to try and call on her. I told myself that it was to make sure she was ok. But nobody answered at her Royal street apartment. I found the rental office and they just said she’d moved. No forwarding address. I thought, well, maybe she did go to Kansas City after all.
But several years later I did see her again. In the news. I was living in DC then and there was this piece in the paper. There was a picture of a man who was said to be a defector from Poland, a well known political figure. He’d been imprisoned, but had escaped to the West. He was now being wined and dined by the Washington establishment, hailed as a freedom fighter. In the background was a woman, said to be his wife, Anna. It was her.
The next picture showed him playing the violin. The piece said he was an accomplished jazz violinist and he’d apparently been asked to play at this cocktail party where the photos were taken. In the picture he’s playing, but his gaze is fixated on his wife’s face. He looks triumphant. She is smiling but maybe looks a tad anxious. The article went on to say, “…and he played the Django Rhinehart number flawlessly, not a note out of place…”
“…..so, hey, Charlie…..earth to Charlie. Do you know it?” Jim was speaking to me.
“Hunh?” I tried to pull myself back to the present.
“Blues for Alice. Do you know that one?” Jim is holding his hands out, exasperated, waiting for my answer.
“Actually,” I said, smiling to myself, “I know that one pretty well.”