Saturday, August 14, 2010


Inez, Cory the barber's 10-year-old daughter, answered his cell phone on the third ring. Sheryl Crows new album "100 Miles from Memphis” blared in the background. Crow was doing an impressive rendition of the Jackson 5 classic "I Want You Back". Inez recognized my voice. She always refers to me as Mr. Charles even though I gave her permission to call me by my first name. She refused, explaining her parents forbid her from calling her elders by their first name. Inez is smart. Whenever, we talk I feel like I'm conversing with an adult. Mystics would say Inez has an old soul. Inez asked me to wait while she fetched her dad, who was in the basement doing laundry. Cory told Inez to turn the music down.
"Is everything okay," Cory asked. He seemed surprised.
"Things are fine."
"You've had my number for a year now. This is the first time you used it, so I figured something must be wrong."
"I'm not crazy about talking on the phone," I said. "I've had many lady-friends dump me because I never called them enough."
"I forgot you have an asocial streak," Cory said.
"I picked up this new record by Eric Reed and Cyrus Chestnut called 'Plenty Swing, Plenty Soul'.
"I have that record. I didn’t care for it."
"It's the first good recording Cyrus has made in a long time," I said.
"Back in the day, you loved the ground Cyrus walked on. In your eyes, he wasn't capable of making a bad record," Cory said.
"Everybody has a bad day or two on the job. I'm still a big Cyrus Chestnut fan. What didn't you like about the album?
"Eric and Cyrus styles are too much alike. I thought the session would be more of an old fashion cutting contest".
“You're wrong. Their styles are different. I’m glad there wasn't a lot of horsing around. They kept the session respectable. I could tell one from the other when they soloed. Cyrus is more percussive and soulful than Eric. You can hear it in everything Cyrus plays. Eric, on the other hand, is a straight up swinger. He never stops swinging. I bet he even swings when he’s sleeping. Naming the album 'Plenty Swing, Plenty Soul', I bet was a play on their styles."
"The album would’ve been more interesting if Eric made it with Jason Moran. Eric is a traditionalist and Moran is an experimentalist," Cory said.
"I don't see how that duo would've worked," I said.
"I watched a performance on You tube once called the Drum Workshop. Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, and Sunny Murray shared the bandstand. They were improvising like crazy. They had different styles. The concert was wonderful."
"I saw the video. It took place in Europe. They should've called it the Showboating Workshop because that’s all the drummers were doing”.
"There you go being sarcastic”.
"Most of the time I agree with you, but this time, you're way off base. I think something is going wrong with your ears. How could you not like how Eric and Cyrus played on 'I'll Remember April," and "Two Bass Hit"? When Eric soloed on 'Prayer', I wanted to confess all my sins, and I'm not even Catholic."
"You can talk until you're blue in the face. You won’t change my mind,”" Cory said. He was right. Trying to convince him the album is worthwhile was futile, so I changed the subject. I overheard Inez tell him the drier stopped.
"Not to change the subject," I said. "What are you doing listening to Sheryl Crow"?
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