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AIN'T NO SUNSHINE

JESSE CAMPBELL

THIS IS RAY BROWN JR.

RAY BROWN JR.

Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams

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Recherchereur Cheri, Mais oui...! I am escaping from New Orleans, Louisiana on Le Quatorze Juilllet, 2010...!

It has been written, “All good Creole boys must one day return to Paris.”* But, no such luck this time. Nonetheless, I am indeed excited to be headed to Our Nation's Capitol. (via Baltimore.) I will be visiting with a great friend, and mentor, A. Billy S. Jones-Hennin. I will state publicly that, leaving New Orleans is increasingly becoming one of my least favorite things. It is necessary.

Nevertheless, I expect to “pull out all the stops.” To do whatever it is that I need to do in my Jazz life, 2010. Of course, right now, keeping my home healthy, livable and, current on payments is what I'm focused on. I'm saying, “yes to anything...” depending on its sweetness. I've grown accustom to a sweetness of life. Maddening as it often be, life in New Orleans has a sweetness to it. NOLA presents a shapely style, a knowing smile... (all those cliches can't defeat the experience;) light & shadow and sound & motion that hypnotizes within a heartbeat.

Each and everyday, I find some cause for awe and wonder. The actions of New Orleanians, people in New Orleans... never cease to amaze me. Anyone, especially visitors, can fall under her spell – if one allows their self to do so. The Spirit of the city, the Voodu, however you name it, as you may know it – it is then undeniable to yourself. Nonetheless, it is apparent, may I say, obvious: that it works both ways. Some New Orleanians, people in New Orleans, do some terrifically maddening things.

Nevertheless, I do and will ever seek constructive forward motion in my life and the lives of all New Orleanians. I would ask all, anyone, to make an extra effort of care and mindfulness for us as we continue living thru this Disaster and, storm season 2010. There happens to be much fear and uncertainty with regard to any storm-driven toxicity moving thru our natural, and man-made (un-natural) waterways. New Orleans is a floating world; there is water moving all of the time: under her, thru her, around her... upon her. We are blessed, really, to be surrounded by the principle of Life. Delta lands are special places on Earth – the neutral ground where the river meets the sea and the land yields to the water.

In my unearthings at 1277 Sere Street, New Orleans, I found a very interesting pocket-book in Danny Barker's archives – a self-help title costing a mere 95 cents in 1971, BEYOND SUCCESS AND FAILURE [subtitled] Ways to self-reliance and maturity. The authors, Willard and Marguerite Beecher, i.e. your parents, probably didn't hit the big time on this one. However, the Beechers exhibit a great humility in their courageous candor in truth-telling.

In a chapter entitled, Trust only movement, they proclaim:

“No book can ever adequately encompass the truth by piling up facts and information. Every writer is faced with a hopeless task and may confuse the reader by encouraging dependency on a how-to-do-it basis. It is impossible to trap life between the covers of a book, just as it is impossible to get a bagful of wind or a bucketful of river.”

Nevertheless, in a final section of the book, the reader will find this bold and daring declaration of their seemingly truth:

“Hope is a whore, a cheat, a deceiver. She seduces victims and makes unwarranted, ungrounded promises so that they lean on her – not on themselves. Hope is merely wishful thinking, or a longing, for Santa Claus to bail us out. Hope entices us to postpone living in the present as if there was a future on which we could depend. The more one depends on hope, the more one fears for his situation.”

May I say, “Wow!” I bet these... authors felt that they were changing the world, or maybe were not. Based upon my reading, I'd say that the Beechers did feel a certain freedom of expression born and bred of some unique certainty. And in case you think that they are angry atheists... I'd say: maybe; maybe not. In the book they refer to an “inner-light” for constant self-reliance.

Perhaps the rest of us, we're just not made of the same... stuff as Willard and Marguerite Beecher. Nonetheless, I know that I come from some sho'nuff survivors. As I said before, one thing that I am sure of: I was raised by Creoles. I am who and whatever I am because my ancestors didn't give up on much of nothing. I could not judge whatever win/lose trails that their lives compelled them to stand for. I am well aware that, to various lengths and degrees, my ancestors were pointing to Jesus.

Thus, this is the system of belief that I was given, and one which I will continue to operate (and negotiate) within for the rest of my life. I'll say this: The way of Jesus aint no joke! And yes, I offer my life in this battleground where, apparently, an evil-doer i.e. evil-doers – creates. Their great schemes of wealth and domination bring great suffering and death to, the rest of us. It appears to me that an underlying and obscured message in the Jesus myth is this: Love creates and destroys. So... pay attention! [Ernie K-Doe said: “The most important thing in life is to, pay attention.”]

I'm convinced that anyone, with a little imagination can find a way to “think thru” a low-impact peak hurricane season. Perhaps it's true, hope is just an idea, an illusion. But, imagination is a sho'nuff activity – a practice. Furthermore, imagination - let's also term it, Lucid Dreaming, is a desirable state of consciousness to exist in. It provides a vehicle, so to speak, to travel powerfully into the eternal now. The question then arises: What is the quality of your imagination?

And yea', Jesus was big on imagination. He was always telling tales and, messin' with folks' minds. No, people don't seem to like that last part too often, but... it's a tool. I read somewhere that Leo Tolstoy was attributed these words: “If you make someone think that they are thinking, they'll love you. If you actually get them to think, they'll hate you.”

Oh... I'll admit that I was a bit dismayed this past Sunday as I leafed thru a copy of the New York Times. The Gulf was nowhere on the ledger, save for last-paged Opinion piece, Our Life, Between Sea and Oil (then there's a full-page ad by BP.) The Op-ed does a very good job of telling the story; poignantly, it's author takes us thru an even-handed view of, the past. Yet even thumbing thru the financial page didn't yield any revelations in the changing landscape of the south-eastern United States. And oh, the N.A.A.C.P. has trouble with the way labor is being divided down here. If they would only ask this Colored Person, I'd say that there could be a bit more concern that America's most “African” of great cities is again, still very much in peril.

Back to the Times, I did receive a great understanding from the editors – one perhaps they may have not counted on. Another culture, in another country, which New Orleans owes much of its life to, was further revealed on the front page. Haiti, Port-au-Prince could only benefit from our care and mindfulness for merciful winds & rains in the weeks and months to come; and that there be a stillness of the water, wind, & earth.

It's a small world after all.

Peace & Pops,
Esquizito
Maison Musique, New Orleans
esquizito.com
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*I am not certain if Anne Rice capitalized 'creole' or not.

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Comment by Gisele on July 14, 2010 at 8:08pm
First , I want to say that even if the NYT isn't covering the story as well as they should, NPR and especially ABC World News are doing a great job. ABC has gone down several times, and not only covered the crisis, but gone behind the scenes and really given the people of southern Louisiana a chance to show the world who they are, and their way of life.

More importantly, I want to share something Jim Wallis (of Sojourners, God's Politics etc) said to me a few months back (I heard him speak at USC). AFter laying out the state of the country, the economy, and Washington politics, I stood up and said I felt very pessimistic as I listened to him. He said he wanted to share something he learned from one of his mentors, Desmond Tutu. And here it is- "optimism" is a feeling, he said, but hope is something more. Hope is based in faith. Now is the time for faith. Have faith, now, E.
Comment by Esquizito on July 14, 2010 at 1:49pm
*+*

Check it out! Barack and I recently collaborated on a session. Yea' we did it live, well... I was improvising. He from the Oval Office, I from the Front Room - a sound collage entitled, Oval.

[With Much Gratitude To The Bird.]

Speaking for myself thru sound,
God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America!

Peace & Pops,
E.

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