The lights dim and you can hear the soprano sax in the stairwell echoing a rambunctious discordance. It provides background to the dull hiss of the noise track the DJ’s cued up and everyone who talks over it.
A musician walks out with a kora, handmade from the driftwood of the Delaware River.
Another musician walks out and starts kicking the keys of an upright piano, the not-so-subtle signal for the crowd’s dull din to slow.
Sounds of the saxophone descend the stairwell and enter the darkened hall. Held by a hooded figure, an African Lion in a cloud of fire emblazoned across the breast of the player, who is busy summoning the heartbeats of the ancestors with squeals of lightning struck out by his every puff of thunder.
The room is shook to pause. Everyone frozen as this chieftain rounds the room and takes his throne. From there he begins to strum the winds to storm. The kora like a sorcerer’s staff bending under the weight of all the years casting spells. He does this till everyone is properly stewed and mind’s are blown.
Then the golden soprano sax is again drawn. It lights up the room all on its own. Staccatos and frequencies that jar the audience to life.
The whole crowd snapping fingers, shouting, “Yeah, man! Go!”
Kicking legs, toppling drums. Piano again kicked to riff some dreams to be born. The whole sound cosmic. Like Sun Ra re-embodied. But this ain’t the Marshall Allen show. This is the midnight after hours post-show. Desert to a five course meal. It has some of that same soul and takes it further with elements of magic exposed by the light of the moon.
The sparks fly upwards. West Philly atmosphere grows. All those healing tones. And everyone knows…these moments fill the spiritual impact of all this city’s potholes. Chemistry for the heart chakra.
Zip! Zoop! Doo bop! Beep! Bam! Boom! Go Man! Go!
The machine can cut at the life chords. Stomp on this city’s residents’ souls. Pound away at them with all that concrete gloom and doom. Tear away at the pieces that are dearest to hold. But no one’s got the power to make the legends grow old. They’re not dying, no. They’re growing more power, full! Feeling the call. Blasting those spiritual hymns and tones. The jazz that’s needed to take us home. Back to our hearts immemorial!
Reminding us, we’ve got the power! We are the power of storms!