Jim Pepper, and You Don't Know What Love Is

Okay, first the contest: The Creek/Caw jazz sax player was Jim Pepper. Look him up if you haven't. His music's hard to obtain but not impossible. Three sent in the correct answer. I choose the first to respond. Some of you are out there pretty late or very early in the morning. (Need to hear back from you with your address, S.C. so I can send you the CD.)

At the moment I feel like a DJ. I did just play a dinner hour jazz set here in my office/studio, because I didn't get to horn practice until late and the neighbors can hear everything. So I played heartbreak jazz over trax for their entertainment. Mostly they get scales in the middle of the afternoon. Ended it with "You Don't Know What Love Is". How many times has that phrase been shouted, in probably every language in the world? There's the tears, the slamming of the door: (car, house, heart) the running away. Then the return, or the grief and then memory. This is the starting point of probably 75% of the songs on the planet, by human, cricket or other creature or plant.

The morning before last I emerged from the dream world as if I had been gone a long time, for years. It was difficult to surface because a friend I hadn't seen since she was camping in the mountains above Santa Fe with her husband and small son appeared to me. They moved back east to her husband's reservation and later I heard she'd died tragically. The story goes she was found dead in a field or on the road after heading to the store with the collected change from a party to buy the next round. This was the first time I'd seen her since. As she drove up my logical self whispered, "but she's dead", but my spirit self brushed off the thought and greeted her. She was wearing beige slacks and a cream-colored blouse. She had shed the malnourished alcoholic skin I'd last seen her in. She shined. Next to her was the memory of the first husband who is still physically here. I was standing at the stage door, horn in hand, getting ready to go out and perform. She came to give me the go ahead, and to remind me not to turn back as she had, from her dream. She was a gifted actor and the denial of that dream had destroyed her.

I've pondered all this since that morning. I recalled her pain, her struggle, her lack of opportunity or ability to seize her dreams, and her friendship to a young, lost Indian student those many years ago. We get through this world with the help of many. We must thank them, give something back.

One way to honor is to continue humbly, with purpose in your path, bearing your gift like fire through the storms, despite setbacks and losses. Another is to help others realize their gifts.

I also realized that to let go what was given you to do results in hell. We grow heaven and hell in the same manner we grow trees, children or dreams. Each starts with one thought, one song, one word, one kindness or hurtful act. And continues the same way.

So, for you my friend, here's a dedication for the evening show tonight, one of my favorites by Mal Waldron, performed by John Coltrane, "Soul Eyes".

Good night.

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