Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Eyewitness # 5: The Bassist Speaks

First thang ya gotta understand’s
every man in a jazz band’s
gotta have his turn to shine.
With that in mind, every Sunday round
10 we’d swing a set down at Monk’s Joint—
me, Ra, Sweetie, King Keita n’ Jive.
Though we got started late, things kicked
off pretty smoove. I mean, we was straight groovin
Footprints. And I was doin it.
Workin my Sweet Lady - my upright bass.
That joint was jumpin! Me: thumpin that thang
like it was the last piece
of poontang on Earth, and I was chosen
to save mankind. Naturally I played within
my bounds, complementin the sounds
of whoever was on lead. First up
was Jive purrin like a phat cat on that
silver horn. Then, Ra did his thang, made that sax
sang praises like the Jazz Messiah had returned.
(God could even take notes
when Ra stands so cool blowin at the four
corners of the Earth.) Of course, Sweetie
on keys is next. Everybody knows the rhythm
section goes last. But when King Keita jumped
in - cymbals smashin, snares poppin, workin
his foot; breakin sticks; he even
stood up! - ya shoulda seen the look
in Sweetie's eyes - a long green blade.
Especially with his new chick
in a front row seat! I mean, ya gotta understand
who we are. Every man is gonna have his turn
to shine. When that half-hour drum solo shut
the joint down, ya could hear the glare
in Sweetie's eyes. Where we from, a flashed blade
is gonna get used; even a improvised song
has to resolve - in the future, if not
the now. Listen, cat, I'ma give it to ya
straight: I knew somethin
was bout go down.

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