The Night of the Reptet
The following events are as I recall them. Witnesses and participants are welcome to elaborate or correct my recollections.
Reptet, is a local jazz group, scheduled to perform at Cafe Rozella on Friday September 12th at 7 p.m. You may recall that Reptet performed at last year’s Music Nights at White Center in what became known as the Night of the Reptet. The event was historic. It all started innocently enough, with Reptet doing their jazz thing at The Triangle. The crowd seemed normal enough with a smattering of knuckle-draggers looking for a fight. Reptet stroked hypnotic rhythms, the crowd began to murmur. An Alaska fisherman, just returned from the Bering Sea, shouted, “what is this jazz shit? I want some Led Zeppelin!” Reptet’s saxophonist pulled up to the fisherman and stroked the tenor with his fingers moving up and down the instrument’s keys. Transfixed, the fisherman cracked a smile and began doing an Irish jig. The crowd circled round the dancing fisherman and clapped and hollered as he introduced complex gyrations into his dance routine. Women jumped on the bar and danced above the crowd. Reptet revved up the tunage and now the crowd was theirs.
They marched outside and the crowd followed in a long conga line. Bystanders jumped in and everyone was whooping and hollering. The parade snaked around the Delridge Triangle and more and more bystanders joined the procession til dozens were snaking in the impromptu conga line. The jazz swelled with the crowd and the tunage from Reptet was primal, calling some atavistic desire for tribal bonding. The intersection of Delridge and Roxbury was now owned by the Reptet nation. Cars stopped in the middle of the intersection and people jumped out to join the bacchanalia. As it happened Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowskie was stopped in his car by the impromptu party. He had misplaced his gun, and thought he might have left it in the bathroom at the Pho shop where he had been lunching with the local constabulary. Grimacing and irascible, the Chief was none too pleased by this street show. Some revelers recognized Kerlikowskie and began chanting, “remember the Battle of Seattle!” Soon the Chief’s car was surrounded by an angry mob. Reptet knew they had to do something to save the day. They jumped on top of the chief’s car and grooved on a Coltraine acid jazz lick that transfixed the crowd. The dancing resumed and before long the conga line was streaming through White Center. Reptet led the crowd back to The Triangle where hundreds cheered them on with chants of “more, more, more…” The evening ended with everyone spontaneously breaking into a rendition of “American Pie.”
And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken; The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.
And they were singing, “bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee, But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die. “this’ll be the day that I die.”
And that became known in local folklore as “The Night of the Reptet.”
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