Chinese Democracy

Before saxophonist Chris Klich founded his Jazz Quintet, he played club and corporate events with the Mar Dels, who have taken their act around the world.

"When we traveled to Macau in China, I had to dress up as Paul McCartney and pretend to play bass for a 'Legends of Rock' set. Of course, there was no sax player in the Beatles, so I had to shoulder a Hofner bass and pretend I was McCartney. I usually made about $200 per Mar Dels gig, but when we did the Legends thing, clients usually paid us more. Ironic, I actually don't know the first thing about playing bass....

"We were doing a performance atop Victoria Peak in Hong Kong harbor on the night the Chinese took over Hong Kong [in 1997]. On that trip, we also played at the China Club, an exclusive venue usually only open to members of the Politburo, where Chairman Mao had all of his social affairs. For that gig, the police threatened to seize our equipment if we continued playing past the permitted time. While [the promoter] kept yelling at us that we should keep playing, we were watching the Chinese police gathering up our stuff and contemplating languishing in a Chinese jail cell. I believe a lot of money exchanged hands before the police changed their mind and let the show go on."

The Chris Klich Jazz Quintet appears Saturday, January 12, at Claire de Lune in North Park.

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