Thursday, August 16, 2007

So What?

I heard him playing the piano
So what?
I saw him blowing on the horn
So what?
I felt the rhythm of the drummer
So what
I heard a tune all newly born
So what?

Jam session in big loft in what used to be the Flower District, Charlie couldn't play the sax worth shit but it was his loft so he played long solos with a great rhythm section bass, drums, piano, they didn't care and besides, Charlie composed great bebop tunes, the place filled with the sound, I was the only audience.

In smoky dim lit places, sometimes only a couple other people in the audience, sometimes only me, feeling like jazz queen at command performance, they didn't care, they played the same way no matter how large or small the audience, they could play for ten hours at a time in the recording studio and want to go for more, just to play, and after the best solo, Joe would always grimace, say he just didn't do what he heard in his head, after wailing on the barry sax until everyone was shivering.

I sat in and sang once at a gig when I had laryngitis, sounded so awful that Alan could barely talk to me afterwards, he was so angry I had disgraced him in front of his group, couple months later I sat in again and did one of our originals, sang it well, the guys were so relieved they overdid it complimenting me, Alan was redeemed.

Betty was the best singer, she'd get mad at me for lipsinking when she'd perform, I didn't care, couldn't help it, we'd write songs together on the telephone, Betty, Alan and me, we'd be hanging out at home in Manhattan, Betty would be in Staten Island, I'd be writing at lightning speed before we forgot the words, being whirled around in the creation, had to grab the lyrics fast before they disappeared from mind.

I'd listen to Charlie Parker and Monk and Miles, Coltrane, and then I'd read volumes of books about them, couldn't get enough of it. That sound, the times, the times, and I found out today that Max Roach died.


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