Charlie Arbelaez at The Rook Bar

Friday the Thirteenth.   A night customarily reserved for monsters and slasher flicks of every grade.  There was no shortage of killin’ music at The Rook Bar this night.  Charlie Arbelaez leads his jazz trio there every Friday night.  This particular night included Matt Smith on drums and Jeff Blanco on upright bass.

“Always free.  Always swingin’.”

C. Arbelaez

The Rook Bar is owned by veteren nightclub owner Chris Haney.  At The Rook they really make an effort to support live music.  Tiny details like adding mood lighting and turning off television sound makes a huge impact on the musicians performing. While the club is quite small, that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing.  Patrons can sit at the wooden bar and keep an eye on muted sports games flashing on the flat screen televisions, or shoot a game of pool.  The billiards table is well maintained and for $.75 cents you and your buddies can play.    It’s namesake, The Rook Bar, is an obvious nod the chess piece on the sign.  If you fancy a game, there are few chess boards set up.  I like to play on the table outside the front door while I’m having drink.  I never win but that I get to meet everyone coming in and out the front door.

Charlie Arbelaez

Charlie Arbelaez solos on his alto sax at The Rook bar in La Mesa.

Charlie Arbelaez  |  Alto Saxophone

Charlie Arbelaez is force of authority on the alto saxophone.  A major staple of the local music scene in San Diego, CA, Charlie can be seen and heard frequently all over the city.  A former member of the US Marine Corps band, Charlie has put that same drive and dedication into his music outside of the armed forces.  Not only performing his music, but promoting other people as well.  Along with trombonist Matt Hall, Charlie is an ambassador for 855SoulJam.com.

Friday Night Jam Session

At The Rook Bar on Friday, after Charlie warms up the room, the floor opens up for the Friday night jam.   There is no shortage of talented musicians who line up to get play.  In the Rook on this night was drummer Ron Haslam, organist and Sure Fire Soul Ensemble bandleader Tim Felton, and a handful of dancers.  Oh yeah, and I played my guitar till 2am too.  Some of the tunes played were Take The A Train, Caravan, You Don’t Know What Love Is, and a ‘slow sexy blues in Bflat’.

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