We are huddled on cushioned church pews. A woman in the row in front rocks forward and back while the pianist’s shoulders jerk playing faster than seems possible. The saxophonist watches the trumpeter full of joy and appreciation, tasting his reed, nodding, grinning. The bass player swings his bass around like he is dancing with a woman.
There is so much music it is hard to separate each instrument from another. I close my eyes to concentrate. More nodding and smiles. The pianist playing so hard now that the grand piano lid shakes. Camille says ‘Damn’.
The sounds are elemental like an ocean or a forest fire. It just. Keeps. Going. We all sing ‘a love supreme’ lowly. The bassist has his solo, people around us whisper ‘yeah’. Some shush the applause because the music is too good to have to compete to be heard. It’s hard to stay seated, each note rattling over my body. The trumpet player sits back on the stairs and lolls his head. The crescendo comes.
The wail of the trumpet so powerful the player stops and shouts at his efforts. A moment of silence when the bassist is playing is louder than all the musicians combined. My chest tightens, breath deepens in reaction, I feel my scalp prickle. Then the stampede of a drum solo. Woops and cheers from the pews, the musicians shake hands and pat each other on the back as if John Coltrane’s music was a sport. Which it is really.