Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mambo, Salsa and Other Latin Beats

He decided to go for a walk and listen to Songza which App he just downloaded on his iPhone. He got the ear pieces inserted into the phone easier than he got them into his ears but finally they settled in place. The hardest part of listening on Songza was choosing what to listen to, there was so many choices. One of the categories was Cuban & Puerto Rican music and that caught his fancy partially because that group always featured big brassy horns, trumpets screeching and reaching the high notes while the drums pulsated and drove the music to faster and faster beats. As a younger man he played in a few groups where he and his trumpet were welcomed because he had the tone and could reach a double C on occasion when the crowd was filling the dance floor with dances, Mambo, Salsa, and the sweat and senses were sent to new heights.
This was not what he did best. His best was sweet, good tone, dreamy romantic music a la, Bobby Hackett style. But when he was a bit high from scotch there was nothing like the solos he'd take while playing, "Cuban Mambo",  "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White", or "Oyo Como Va!".

He started his walk on a quiet street that led to a major thoroughfare. He really got a kick out of watching the people walk by all the older folks had a grouchy expression looking like they wanted to get somewhere, anywhere but where they were, fast. The younger ones, many high schoolers had the ear pieces stuck in their ears and were probably listening to their music, rap or something from Katie Perry he supposed. He couldn't understand why their expression was so stern, no smiles, no sign of enjoyment which he was sure they had but seemingly would not show it. He on the other hand was singing out the notes, or chuckling with delight as the trumpets reached what sounded like double F's. He could not stop his hands from emulating the drummers pulsating beat or the bongos being bonged.

Of course no-one but he could hear what he was listening to but what he heard made the day brighter, the little old ladies seem a bit younger, and the world around him just jump with life. As he was taking all that was around him as he walked the music brought him back to a time when he was on the stand and the last song of the night before they signed off with "Show Me The Way To Go Home" was a request made by this little Puerto Ricana gal who was stunning. She requested "Cherry Pink" and he was just drunk enough to play it just like the hit record with the glissando, the slurs and the off melody part ending with a double C that was true and clear and held for at least seven beats. She was dancing with a guy he didn't especially like just because he was dancing with her. The group went into "Show Me The Way To Go Home" and he gave the crowd the spiel for all to drive carefully and be careful going home and especially in bed. He was putting his horn in it's case when she came up to him and asked if he had a cigarette. He said sure and took one himself lighting both of them, just the way Paul Henried did in "Now Voyager"  he took it from his lips and gave it to her, she didn't shy away. He asked her where her dancing partner was and she said they argued and now didn't have any way of getting home. He offered to drive her, she mentioned she had some wine in her apartment and could only expect to thank me with a glass. They got to the apartment and she put on a soft light, put on Jackie Gleason's, Music For Lovers Only" and poured the wine. As the beautiful tone of Bobby Hackett came over them as did the wonderful smooth wine their lips met. Suddenly they were together in the throes of love both passionate and gentle at the same time.

He found himself at his door at the end of his walk and his reminiscences left him as soon as they came to him. He took the ear pieces out and stopped the music. His key found the lock and as he was opening the door he wondered what ever became of that beautiful Puerto Rican girl. Never saw her again and he was sure he should have because with her the music would always be furious, fun and hit the high notes or at least it would seem so based on that glorious night.


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