It's 11 p.m. on a pleasant early May evening at Havana Hideout in downtown LDub and Tom Regis and his boys are hitting a slow, bluesy version of "Mercy Mercy Mercy," the Joe Zawinul tune made famous by Cannonball Adderley. Jon Zeeman's guitar is easing away for some sly, muted trumpet work by Steve Ahern. Tom's shimmering at the keyboard on clouds of Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, then everyone's down in N'awlins, drummer Gary Berman and bassist Ilkin Deniz popping a groove, and finally all pick up and bounce through the home stretch, a nice gavotte between cubist wafts of sound and the funk.
Two more standards round out the evening -- Miles's moody, soulful "So What" and Thelonius Monk's sprightly "Straight, No Chaser." The quintet dissolves, breaking down their gear and chatting with the crowd. In the space about the size of a public school classroom, walled off from the street by a long-ish tiki hut, with a scramble of tables and chairs on a sand floor under an open sky, the patrons have been right in the players' laps, practically. It's the way jazz should be -- a cozy, collective voyage.