Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Jazz Temple

It's these places that the real source of humanity exists. It's these dark and humid rooms, halls, bars and garages that people will see that it's still okay to be alive. To know that the sickness that persuades people to do evil things with their minds and bodies can be forgiven and that inner peace will be found again. The horrors of our modern America exist elsewhere. This is a place of music. This is a hall of sound.

These musicians who stand on their soapbox in a significant circle lay out the real truth. Music is the only truth. No matter what people try and do, music will never lie. It will never mislead. It will never die. It exists without us, amongst us, in every breeze, in every sunset, in the birds, in the ocean and in the mountains. It is everywhere. It has a will of its own.

The outside of this place will be in stark opposition. People around, frightening. Thoughts, terrible. Actions, disgusting. Killing, raping, stealing, hurting, shoving, lying. The Ten Commandments sacrificed on any given street corner, in any given home, at any given time, somewhere. But not here. This is a holy ground. Not in any religious sense, but a spiritual sense, if you will. A room, a simple room with people playing music that speaks in the universal tongue. Expressing pain, excitement, joy, anguish, sadness, and pleasure. Talking in a way that any man, woman or child can hear and complete with their own minds and souls.

It does not impose fear, no, this is the heart of freedom, this jazz, this rock, this funk, this blues. This spilling from the instruments. Tonight it is a saxophone. Alongside that, it could be drums and guitar. Across the stage maybe a bass and a violin. These players, all of them, any of them, are helping us out here. They are helping us become one mind, for maybe a short interval, a song duration, a tempo change, but there it is. Nothing mind-boggling. Nothing complex. This is simply music.

Here I sit no longer paining myself over events that have taken place in the past. It's stupid to let any war, any drunk, any rainy day, any conflicting interests, or any one person make me feel any sort of mental distress. No, tonight I will choose to listen on my own. Away from everyone, in the corner, if that is what it takes, with a smile on my face, no longer accepting judgment or dishing it out, however hard that is. I can only place the jazz in my head and convert it to energy to use to gain strength from the small things that may just come to mean nothing.

I'm trying to empty the sickness, expel the misery. I clear my head at these dark nightclubs of bleeding jazz and roiling blues, and these little things, the notes, they make me remember who I am.

Sometimes I forget that I love nothing more completely than music until I hear it again as it fills me up and flows from me. It is a sacred and personal peace. And I will remain with it, as it will with me, until I die.

The saxophone line is swirling in my head again ... the guitar is coming in over the top, doubling the sax in fourths, the violin plays a tremolo pitch that is so eerie and bohemian, perfect as the drummer belts out a driving backbone of 7/8 time, behind that the bassist is grinding away with a bow, creating this lulling swing gypsy rhythm that has placed me near the fifth sun, the place I have come to recognize is the final resting place of the soul, the last stop before we forge into new material, that place that makes us realize we still have a long way to go.

And you can see it burning red now and you can feel the music lifting you up past the fence of your dumb awareness so that you can get a glimpse of it, the music pushing you higher and higher, until it has hit its peak, extended its grasp, and you are almost crying, because you know there will be a time when you will no longer be able to know this music, where all earthly connections will be lost, except possibly faded strange memories, and you will know this is true right before you reach up and touch the sun, for the last and only time, as it falls underneath like the last notes of that powerfully transcendent hypnotic melody that these simple humans have created, right there in front of you.


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