Saturday, December 20, 2014

THE MAN: JOHN COLTRANE (A Night to Remember)

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

A Tribute to The Man, And In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"
(A Night to Remember)

Young and curious, crusin’ the street,
my partner and I, with life at our feet.
Beautiful days of summer’s ilk,
and beautiful ladies with legs of silk.
Miles on the box with Thelonious in tow,
playin’ ‘Round Midnite--nothin’ but soul.
Miles was moanin’, Thelonious was Monk,
our senses were reelin’, our top in the trunk.
Down Century Boulevard, past Sportsman Park,
north on Crenshaw, Can’t wait ‘til it’s dark.
Crenshaw was jammin’, not like today,
with cognitive people, who went their own way.
Cadillacs gleamin’, prosperity galore,
ladies a struttin’, that gait I adore.
The ‘hood left behind, no denial or shame,
these were the people who’d mastered the game.
Dreamin’ and crusin’, yet, chained to the ‘hood,
but into an element we both understood.
Jazz was the thing that had lured our route,
and no chain of poverty was keepin’ us out!
‘Cause THE MAN was in town, with his mighty ax,
and was jammin’ that night at Dynamite Jack’s.
So anxious to worship THE MAN in the flesh,
the first thing that mornin’ we started to dress.
In our youthful exuberance we saw nothin’ wrong,
with the hours to kill before HE would go on.
Hence, there we were with nothin’ to do,
THE MAN’S first note at 9, it was now only 2.
So we went to a park on Rodeo Road
and proceeded to get in our mack-daddy mode.
We needed two women with presence and class,
two women who also could dig modern jazz.
We lucked-out, no doubt, with Debra and Gwen,
two sisters out trippin’ in their step-father’s Benz.
These women were ladies we soon recognized,
not only quite lovely but exceedingly wise.
We spoke of Dizzy, Dexter, Thelonious and Bird,
and all of the monsters of jazz that we’d heard.
Then just as our session was starting to end,
Gwen mentioned Dolphy, and we at it again.
We partook of the bush, we had a few beers,
by 8 it was like we’d been partyin’ for years.
But now it was time to hit Dynamite Jack’s,
to hear THE MAN blow, sip Scotch and relax.
We followed the ladies up into the hills,
to a fabulous pad, must’ve cost a few bills.
We dropped off my car, then got in the wind,
we split to see HIM, and my journey began.
Dynamite Jack’s was the place to be,
there seemed to be thousands of new things to see.
Doctors, lawyers, pimps and "hoes",
dope fiends with their nostrils froze;
perverts, politicians (one and the same),
everyone seemed to have some kind of game.
At 16 years old I was really impressed,
with this flash, this glitz, this flamboyant success.
I knew before long, that my turn would come,
I’d shoot for the stars, at least, out of the slum.
Then HE came on stage to a mighty roar,
as bustling humanity hung all out the door.
A quiet MAN, of knowledge and taste,
yet HIS presence sent a chill through the place!
Flash became silence, glitz bled to awe,
pure greatness just glistened from THIS MAN we saw;
no posturing, no swagger, no hipster-like mack,
just unfettered greatness, the essence, in fact...
That one precious moment, I gaped at the stand,
my young reckless mind would take hold as a man.
That moment estranged from the kid that I’d been,
life’s door was flung wide, a new man would step in.
Many years later, assessing my life,
the greatness of raising two kids with a wife;
THE MAN is no more, on this earthly plain,
but HIS unflaunting manhood stays etched in my brain.
That kid on that night gave birth to a plan,
that night when he looked up in awe at THE MAN.
Revealed was a path that would color his life,
that shunned the flamboyance and glitz of the night.
To shoot for the stars! That was his plan,
the stardom that’s found in just being A MAN!
Taking two souls, molding their lives,
away from the flash, and the glitz, and the blight.
Two college age kids now view him with awe,
he now see in their eyes what that night HE saw.
Greatness is relative, he learned from THE MAN,
through the glint in HIS eye, and HIS demeanor on stand;
don’t have to be famous to be someone grand,
just pull up your trousers, and face life like a man.
It was KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM that night the kid saw;
the EXCELLENCE of DISCIPLINE that put him in awe,
of one humble spirit, so sweet and sublime,
but a spirit that’ll speak to all man for all time.
So a droplet of beauty, the kid to mankind,
a pearl of wisdom, a wistful rhyme;
some insight he gained as he bat away tears,
might his essence endure through the unfolding years?
A journey began, on that faithful night,
that moment a young set of eyes saw "First Light."
When HE tapped out the rhythm to "Africa Brass,"
and my dream to see COLTRANE had come true at last.

A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme,
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme . . .
The mountains, The sea,
The stars above
are part of me.
All a gift from he who is HE,
the wondrous creator
of you and me.
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme,
A love Supreme, A Love Supreme . . .
The ageless tide. It’s mighty roar,
The hue of a setting Sun
that paints the shore,
All a gift,
From A loving God
that I adore.
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme,
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme . . .
I take my horn
to sing his praise,
I'll sing his song
throughout my days,
And when I'm gone,
I'm still not through,
I'll leave behind
his song for you.
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme,
A Love Supreme, A Love -
My loving child,
now that you're through,
I take thou horn,
and lie it next to you;
In loving praise,
you always blew,
Now, sleep my child
as I sing to you . . .
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme,
A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme . . .
Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does. 

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