I had to visit Harlem this morning , early...for some stupid reasons actually regarding court etc, more things about that later.....but all is well.
Anyway , Harlem is something else. I was there very very short this time and of course I have been there before, but you know how sometime you visit a place for a moment and you get all the feeling in a moment , that's how I felt this morning at 9 am. It's a place where history . struggle, dreams and talent all comes together in a very local way . I went into three places to look for a bagel and a tea and all I found was fast food things and not very good looking breakfast things....BUT I heard John Coltrane blasting in 3 different places....and then I finally found my tea and a man who was sitting in the corner of 127th and Lennox Avenue also blasting John Coltrane's My Favorite things and the record Coltrane/ Johnny Hartman.
This is exactly what Im tryin to tell lots of people around the world about NYC. It is the source and without living here and feeling this from the inside there is just no way to understand this culture in anyway . This music is a necessity for living and breathing here , a way of living and thinking and not about nostalgia or retro loving , that I do think most of Europe and probably Asia is all about, when it comes to this culture. It's not about nostalgia is what I'm tryin to say. I felt immediately how the Coltrane and Malcolm X time here is still so present , almost as if nothing has changed although everything has changed. I feel Miles legacy is not as heavy here as Coltrane, I think simply because Miles was from St Louis and somehow was a fashion man at the same time as ofcourse great music man , maybe the greatest . But Coltrane's tone of his Tenor just summarized everything to me .
I called my friend Juini Booth who lives around the corner . He had a coffee and I had my tea and we talked about exactly this ....Juini has been around here since late 60's when he came into town in a bus from upstate New York. Since the day he arrived he has played and lived around here and performed with pretty much everyone who is nowadays considered a jazz legend.
Long live Harlem , long live John Coltrane and long live Malcolm X , Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Harriett Tubman !!