Setting: A small bistro in Montecito, Ca. I’m sitting in a small booth with my husband. We just ordered dinner. A cool red negroni sits just in front of me, waiting to be savored. Sound track: jazz. So familiar. It evokes other times. Decades ago, but the memories are still sharp and still enjoyable..I invite my mind to travel backwards.
I’m back at the Music Inn in Lenox, Mass. listening to Brubeck play Take 5. What a venue that was, and how lucky I was to be apart of it for a short time. Lenox was about one and a half hours from my home town. Take 5 was by then almost a cliché, but it didn’t diminish the thrill of hearing it live. My ears are open and full of the notes. It was swinging. It was cooooool. I am really enjoying it. This is the song that got Brubeck this gig, I’m sure. But, it’s all ok, and the alternating rhythm is irrisistible to this listener. I’m 20 years old again. I can feel the summer heat just outside the shed., the breath of another summer taking shape. This is the time of my life when anything seems possible and almost is. The music reaffirms it. I was determined to live my life as I wanted although it seemed to be in direct conflict with my parents’ dreams for me. Jazz was my soundtrack.
My best friend and I drive to Belchertown, Mass. to drop in on an acquaintance. His mother kindly shows us to his 2nd floor bedroom, sweetly ignoring the fact that we’re uninvited guests and it’s about dinnertime. We’re welcomed. Because there are no chairs in his room, I lay down on his empty bed. He puts on the Sonny Rollins track that he’s been listening to. The notes of Softly as in a Morning Sunrise fill the small room. It’s a sultry early summer evening. Which came first, the music or the world? The world stops spinning for a few minutes. No one talks. Did life ever get better than this?