It's Saturday afternoon and it's well
after noon, and the Mocking Bird's jazz band is setting
up late. They're sharing James Velvet's 39th birthday
with fans and unknown walk-in listeners. I'm one of
them. Where else would a player want to celebrate
his birthday except at a gig, and on stage playing
what he likes to play.
Empty beer bottles and full liquor bottles frame
the back wall. A saxophone top is capped up behind
a corked sherry bottle pointing to Cafe 9 in red neon,
with its inextricable companion, a blue neon G clef.
Flags, trophies and mini microphones stacked atop
the wine glass shelf. Wooden bust of old man Buddha
or maybe replica of New Orleans crew float.
Geronimo peeks out at the regulars, his horse facing
bottles framed with violin on the other side. Good
old Jack looks off into his golden eternity, next
to a Faustian Gretchen in relaxed relief, her companion
is outside her vignette, 9 on top and painted wide
folk pillow faces playing flute, sax, and violin.
Clock to the right and violin on top to keep the time.
More microphones of old performing lore gone bye,
below bottles slide and tug feeding regulars beer.
Kenny Aldrich beats his soul into the kit, dancing
like Roaches soul did like Krupa did, and at his own
finest hour—Big bang throb, and straight ahead
to the ears of his audience.
Tinkle, tinkle tink--and the band intro song Kind
of Blue is on. Elijah on the keys runs his trill like
phantom notes from Hancock's Quintet days.
Elijah even asked for a clipboard to invite other
players to sit in. "If you've got somethin' to
play, somethin' to sing, or even somethin' to say–sign
up and you'll be next."
New song and new man took the cue and is standing
in, plucking riffs on guitar. Leaning back and sucking
in the bass while Aldrich locks some pace for all
to play and dance on in their forum in the sky.
Segments of interlude and no member of the crowd
needs a cue when to give love with a CLAP CLIP CLOP.
No one wants to disturb this musical movement. Whistles
jeer them on in a hesitance like modals and space
of Kind of Blue, waiting for that moment to jump the
ride when the bass said its say. Now Girl from Ipanema
in blues variation with a Miles feel.
All the players from the local area mill in and those
who knew the Humming Birds, who were going to be here,
are slipping in on the vibe that reached the musicians
beyond Cafe 9's doors. A man with his amp and sacked
guitar is ready to strut his talent among the flock
of fellow lovers of sound.
Foot stomping to the solo bass while guitar is thumping
like percussion and bass. Another has his
cased rain stick¾ could be Shaka ready to go.
One man plays congas in the audience because there
is no room on the stage.
Slide trombone player runs scales into his mute on
the sideline to get his chops ready for the show.
Cousin slide holds his brass imagining music jump
from his horn to paint this smoky room blue, as he
gazes on in the background, contemplating the sound.
Yvon J. Cormier works as a freelance
writer and has been writing poetry for over 18 years.
His new work is characterized by it's Jazz & Blues
influenced poetry & prose sketches. He writes
from an insatiable nomadic intelligence which obsesses
over what is unsaid and the seemingly invisible aspects
of daily life. His work is rooted in drawing life
pictures where words owe a greater debt to what they
represent rather than the reverse. He has been published
in Long River Run, 2007, The Diarist's Journal, Oct.
2002, and in Covert Press # 2 (in print & online),
Nibble a poetry magazine, and Heroin Love Songs. His
chapbook of Jazz & Blues influenced poetry &
prose is titled Life Sketches in Blue (Select Edition)[D/E/A/D/B/E/A/T/