Hot Jazz Improv & Steff

  • Stumbling through the late afternoon sun I am in a mismatched amalgam of college faces and high school architecture. Heading for home now then my arm is hooked by Reagan--she pulls me through a doorway to where a jazz band is cooking with people sitting in folding chairs and the band's shadows leaping on the wall.

    In my ear, Reagan: "They are performing my latest composition...with audience participation." The 7-piece band is leaning deep against the beat, bass clarinet waddling under a hoarse sax like Mingus likes it. Air is hot and I image like some dark tent with a fire leaping, the crowd still real but the band a convenient concretization of the Peyote song looping in my head.

    The band leader points at an audience member and she begins to freestyle melody, her flute voice lilting like sweet birdsong. The finger switches to me and I give 'em my best Miles' mute-trumpet. A wink to Reagan and I am back in the out-air for a moment but now! on the ground wrapped in the embrace of my dear old friend Steffany, here restored to 18's youth. Passersby look at us funny as I take her photograph and she shirks her shirt to a thin tan tube top.

    Framed by black in the lens, she is beautiful. Sun-tan shoulders against the grass. Breathing, the fabric expands over her high school sweet heart.

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