In a lonely act, she called me while under the influence of a setting sun.
I head home. Even if I had, had money, I was just too tired to sustain the illusion that something, something may happen. Most days the possibility sustained me, that and the music. There was no place to go anyways.
The rain made the sky waver. Off in the distance a plane, a dull gray bird no longer bothering to flap its wings.
In-between showers, the wet pavement gave up its distinct perfume. My cigarette no longer likes me, it lets out a hiss before trying to roll away. I put on some music and open my notebook. I am of three minds, one of them exploded, black ink blood falling upon the page in pulse like spurts. All the words I should have said.
In a lonely act, she called me while under the influence of a setting sun. I didn't want her here. Now I have grown too accustomed to my solitary confinement, living safely behind my pillars of books and records whose exact order I had memorized.
The influence of a setting sun, I was still willing to make the trip across town. No, no she wanted to come here. I wanted her, aspects of her, just not here. It would make it harder to make that eventual complete break of which I can not seem to control, despite being a master.
I lost, for the first of several times tonight, she came. I would have to watch her like a hawk. I knew her plays, to leave something behind as pretext to return.
Really, it did not matter how closely I watched. She had always been all slight of hands and misdirection no matter where we were. So I would settle for her just leaving my records alone.
I went through the motions of cleaning up, dusting around piles, soaking disregarded coffee cups, now found again.
Initially she had appealed to me, the lack of shame she made me feel surrounding my loneliness.
"We are all alone."
She had said that, that first night. I found out later, she used that line on almost all her customers. We both sensed that there was something greater than ourselves hidden just under the surface of every day life. I went looking for it, as I always had, in music.
She was not sure, so dabbled in different things. After her miscarriage she became lazy, giving up, now settling for mere distractions.
At different times, I imagined various ways in which I fit into her life. I would like to think things both good and bad because it all suited me.
Her mother was moving to Arizona, prompted by a fit of ill timed guilt, she was invited along. I did not want her to go, although I could never say why. The plan had too many holes in it, but this may have been from her habit of only telling me half the story, what she wanted me to know, safe guarding the rest for some future agenda.
We fought, she said I was jealous or some such thing. Those last ones, a few of our bigger fights and it felt good.
The day she left was dream-like. I had just gotten out of the hospital after three days of bad bronchitis. All our going away rituals had been left undone. She is gone, but not her coat, like the ghost of her shadow hunched over a chair. Her first month there, I got the drunken phone calls. I would try to synch a record up to the weather, my mood, to give a fuller picture. There was a time difference which I could never get straight. I did not know if she were just getting home or going out.
A few years ago, she said she would be home around Christmas. I have the perfect record for that.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.