Frank london BROWN/ Jazz


The chatter of the cymbals floored the high pitched introductory, gave it a base from which to soar. and dew dropping off minor chords, shattering their resonance with an even more contradictory high keyed set of notes, came Thelonious Monk. The bass started walking, booming like a strong man’s healthy heart beating beneath the drums, which beat beneath the piano, which chorded beneath the tenor saxophone. The song built, throbbing while moving to the height of the first chorus. Building, building, chugging now like a great steam engine huffing uphill, clashing iron on the iron track, bells of piano ringing, guiding the reverberation of sound from the walls of the booth’s close tunnel.
up the tenor went, repeating the melody, driving, chugging with the great train and box cars of bass, drums, and piano. The trumpet fell silent, and now the tenor pushed, bellowing and grunting, rough and beautiful in the nobility of coarseness, of mass trying to execute delicate gyrations. it was a big horn, not like Charlie Parker’s or some light flute squawking pain and pity, hawking feelings thin and silver between and beneath great layers of muscle, guile and strength, but a big horn blowing, blowing the blues away. Blowing in news from Siam while the cymbals called out, called out to the world that the King was coming. hail the king of life! now the trumpet lay in wait, and the piano agitated the upward motion. The tenor said something, stated a phrase and the trumpet picked it up and the tenor eased into quiet. ernest listened to the music without patting his foot. he stood calmly. listening to the sound turning into substance. Seeing a structure being built as surely as if it were brick, glass and steel. he saw the floor and the super structure and the places where the windows were to be, yet which Monk, the Master architect, had purposely left out so that he, ernest Day, could put them in. Wong! went the piano, and now the Monk himself was taking a solo. he played in the low keys, and he played things that by passed the daily bread and the constant tick of the clock. Things that took time into another quarter, where it could not continue its constant repetition of the ancient archetype of beginning, middle and end; time of all times, blood of all bloods, image of all images. The thing done once, and no other thing again to be done. To ernest, Monk moved history forward, took it from the cold grey grip of the eternal return, the repeating of things done and said, and hence the cyclic circularity of history, and of the future of man, and the end of the bad things, and the beginning of the good things. Forward! Monk’s off chorded notes said. never to come this way again! There are still secrets to be known. new secrets, not old regurgitated ones of crosses dark with the blood of too many saviors gone wrong. ernest laughed at the sounds, the impossible sounds that Thelonious Monk made possible. That was it! That was his appeal, his attraction. he was free, loose, weightless, yet not in need of wings! in need of nothing but his will to be free.

Frank london Brown, Trumbull Park

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