Years later Uncle Michael died of cancer. I remember seeing him at the hospital and I remember him asking me to help raise himself up in the bed, and lifting him was like lifting a sack of potatoes. It was a very foreign feeling being that close to death. Two weeks later at his funeral a trumpeter played 'When The Saints Go Marching In' in a very slow melancholic cadence. It was the first time I cried at a funeral.
It wasn't for a number of years that I truly appreciated his role in my upbringing. In fact, it was when I couldn't find a Wynton Marsalis song in my car, a song called Multi-Colored Blue that I recalled meeting him at the Opera House in Sydney so he could take me to the concert of Wynton Marsalis and his band. I was a little restless shit and I didn't want to stick around after the concert and when he began talking about the battle of Thermopylae I too busy texting my friends and feigning how tired I was... Ah well, life lessons often come after the event, not before....
Tonight a big smile was brought across my face. Because beyond all the sadness of his death, I glimpsed all the cheeky excitement he held in his eyes when he was living and two jazz songs reminded me of that period and I thought I would post them below. Jon Hendricks - Watermelon Man & Wynton Marsalis - When The Saints Go Marching In.
|The inimitable Jon Hendricks, now 92 years old, Time Magazine referred to him as 'The James Joyce Of Jive'|