Muddy water

Posted: March 2, 2015 by jennroig in English, Fiction
Tags: , , , ,

Close to midnight. An ageless woman sings a blues, escorted by an organ, drum beats and a guitar. I miss a trumpet or a saxophone.

arjonhollanders.exto_.org-2014-7-22-20-32-34A white man flirts with a black girl next to the bar, and she likes the attention. They seem isolated from the rest, the only odd presence other than the Asian couple that joined last. The rest, everybody knows everybody at Showman’s. The audience seems local, familiar, perennial… Baby I love you rain or shine…  Isn’t something sweet to tell someone? The singer asks and no one answers. Nobody seems to have ever said it before.

The black girl stares to the white man, losing her smile for just that moment.I think of that first time when I listened to a jazz riff. A piano solo. A man whispering in my ear a definition of jazz.

The singer introduces next a Billie Holliday´s tune, saying that Billie believed in forgiving everything to her man, sort of a habit that she wont share… Hush now, don’t explain, just say you’ll remain, I’m glad you’re back, don’t explain…jazz-literatura-cortazar

I remember the first time I felt the jazz. Really feeling it, not reading about it in a Cortazar story…

An old black man’s just back from smoking… or from some other time, more than forty years ago, with his tight turtleneck and a beret as he could have used back then, when maybe Billie was singing that song herself… Right or wrong don’t matter, when you’re with me sweet. Hush now, don’t explain…

A Harlem postcard. So endemic as the noise of pipes in the winter.

words in earsA memory. A photo or a film engraved in some part of my brain tissue that could be real, or it could well be a fake. Words recovered or reinvented to repaint another bar, in another city, in another world.

Words coming with a tone, a texture… words like fur, or wind blowing on leaves. Words saying that jazz is an architecture built only over a naked structure, then improvisation fills the gaps, puts over layers of escapades, covers it with instinct and tacit understanding. Words in my ear, lips so close to my skin.

The singer doesn’t echo Billie anymore. It is channeling Nina, the unmissable in a bluesy night… I put a spell on you…

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