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Jazz On Wheels
written by Jean Charles
photos by
Shem Rajoon


The spontaneity and thus creativity of art summon many musical enthusiasts to the Jazz mobile, a show put on by many musicians and show men which hypnotizes a crowd. Thousands attend the weekly events each summer, an occasion not only with sounds but aroma of many foods as well. Like I always say "Any event complimented by food is worth the going." And this event was not exception to my rule.

As the sun sets behind a thick curtain of trees, music is crooned from brass instruments which set the evening's mood -- "nothing but mellowness here" -- and the crowd relinquishes daytime gloom for a more relaxed attitude -- the night time cool. The night is there with its stars waiting to be molded by the music, already giving shape to life and life shape. The people in a attendance become hypnotized to the synchronization of drums, the guitars strum as the saxophones chant like mad men made sane by music. The band captivates the crowds, its members sitting, standing and living but all enchanted by the music. And the day is now defunct and life becomes one: one with the earth, its rhythms, spontaneity, infinity and the Universe.

As I walk around listening to these modern day wordless griots, I get a history lesson from people who have been frequenting the Jazz Mobile from its inception, which seem to be eons before my birth. Jazz, like many forms of music has had its hey day and from the festival, it is still having it. Part of those days began during the Civil Rights Movement. One person, who attends the weekly festival and goes by the name of Omegalfa says, "The 60's movement has molded jazz ", and sites none other than, "the great improviser, Johnny Coltarane", as one of Jazz's most revolutionary figures because of his style as a microcosm of the political climate whom he compares to Malcolm X.

Another patron, Michael Darden, who has been going to this gala for about twenty years began attending by word of mouth and indicates,"Jazz is a unique and original music for African Americans." To which I would like to add, Jazz is also a unique art form of many people of African descent living in the Caribbean and other parts of the Americas. I also think part of Jazz's success comes not only from the passive beats that soothes angry men, but from its ability to link people across continents and oceans by using a single music with different styles, like the strands of love that binds families and kinsmen.

In its entirety jazz connects and defines one people with one music and one love



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