Wednesday, August 4, 2010

THE BALLADEER

Seated cross-legged in a club chair at Border's Books and Music reading the new Thelonious Monk biography, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. I turned around. Cory the barber stood behind me holding his daughter's, Inez, hand. Inez held two Wimpy Kid novels. I was surprised to see Cory in Gross Pointe. He lives and works in Redford. He explained Inez's mom lives near the bookstore. He took Inez to dinner. They stopped at the bookstore because Inez wanted the last two novels in the Wimpy Kid series. Cory flopped down in the chair next to me. Inez gave her dad the novels, and she asked for money to buy a smoothie. Cory pulled a crumbled ten dollar bill from the pocket of his cargo shorts. He told Inez to get him a triple chocolate chip cookie. Before she left, he reminded her to bring back all his change.
"You have a great life. All you do is read books and listen to music all day. I want your life."
"I keep my life simple," I said.
"Have you heard any good albums lately," Cory asked.
“On the drive over here, I listened to the new album by Marcus Printup."
"I heard a lot of good stuff about that album "Ballads all Night".
"Marcus is a solid trumpet player.
I've heard him on a bunch of records as a sideman. He played on one of pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s best albums "Soul Food".
"Was that the album with Lewis Nash, Stefon Harris, Christian McBride...?”
"James Carter, and Wycliffe Gordon."
"That was a great album. Cyrus hired the top cats from his generation."
"What did you like about "Ballads all Nights"? The concept sounds dated," Cory said.
"It’s the kind of album that most good jazz trumpet players make at some point in their career. Marcus is a romantic.
"Like Miles."
"That is a knee-jerk comparison. Marcus tone and phrasing is a lot softer like trumpeter Johnnie Coles."
"Is that the cat who used to play with Mingus"?
"Yeah. After listening to Marcus play, ballads my heart was melted in my lap. I kept replaying 'Miles Away,' "Memory Box' and 'Nearness of You'. Marcus composed most of the songs on the album.
"Will the album make your top ten favorite jazz albums of 2010," Cory wanted to know.
"Probably not, but it's a good album. I recommend you buy it," I said.
Inez returned with her smoothie and her dad's triple chocolate chip cookie. Cory and I embraced. He had to leave. Inez’s mom was expecting her home by 9:00pm. Cory the barber paid for the two Wimpy Kid novels, and I resumed reading the chapter in the Thelonious Monk biography where Monk's manager suspected the folks at River Side Records cheated the pianist.
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