Friday, September 6, 2013


Well, my first trip up the street to a coffee shop called Down Beat, I got into a conversation with the owner about KC jazz and blues heritage.  He was listening to jazz and Facebooking and chilling out, and it turns out he is the bass player for Blue Riddim Band, who were grammy-nominated in the middle 80's.  His shop is full of records and stuff.  This is like five houses down from where I'm staying.  The cicadas are going off already here in Charlie Parker and Big Joe Turner's city--so much to learn and absorb, alot of folklore and oral tradition and imagination, and reissues available on Amazon MP3, Youtube or at your local musty record store, or at a friend's house.

It is good to be home, though I will qualify: home town is Liberty, a small town turned suburb.  My experience of KC heritage starts pretty much now and I make no sentimental claims on it.  That would be TCB: TOTAL CORN BALL.  

It is good to be home, then, in the sense that I wish to be nowhere else.

I guess my first research will be Big Joe Turner, right after I get some new pants for work.  I'm going to need a post-it to keep I track of that, after driving 1900 miles in three days.  The other idea run up the flagpole at Down Beat was that Big Joe Turner invented rock and roll here.  I am going to look into that, too.  Doc Pomus believed this to be true, as well. 

So, I have to say, I'm sitting here on the deck and noticing the creep of humidity.  It feels like it could be a somewhat hot one. I know high humidity is number one on the list of dreaded preconceptions about living here--but I have missed it.  After 22 years of average temperatures in the low 50's and overcast skies 2/3 or 3/4 of the time, I look forward to heat.  I may dry out my Chucks and get the moss off my Ampeg by 2015, maybe not.

Heat makes fluid things more fluid.  Heat--just enough heat--makes enamel paint lay out smooth and knit up like something polished.  Heat is in amplifier tubes.  Heat is a key component of sexuality, of femininity, of masculinity.  Heat clarifies olfactory signals--I drove past an isolated stand of pine trees in Wyoming and could actually notice that cool, almost citrus blue scent before it was enveloped  again in the dry wash of desert heat.  Heat makes the skin wet, heat warms the vocal cords.  Heat fries chicken, slow-cooks tri-tip, stews bitter greens.  Heat kicks your ass, it is true, and heat makes dogs lay under the deck in the dirt, but I am done with calling damp morgue conditions a "mild climate."  Sweat trickles, gloomy ruminations evaporate like alcohol in the ears after a swim at the YMCA.  Swimmer's ear of the soul, that's what you can get if you are not careful.

Post a Comment