July 4, 2010 – America's Independence

“How will it end?!” – Louis Armstrong, as per Waller & Razaf

Hey wait... Dear Reader, please don't go! It is really the beginning and; it's going to be what it's going to be.

This last sentiment was bestowed upon me by Ellis Marsalis... oh, about four and half years ago. It was my first Friday after having returned to New Orleans from Brooklyn where I had eventually evacuated to, following Hurricane Katrina. Back then, in those days, I was not asking: how will it end? I earnestly felt the general predominant consciousness of most New Orleanians at that time: Rebuild. Nevertheless, I approached our Jazz Patriarch seeking a direction, to know his decision and demeanor with regard to the future of New Orleans after the storm. Mr. Marsalis' delivery was characteristic, “Hey... It's gonna be what it's gonna be.”

Ellis Marsalis still makes his Friday Night gig at Snug Harbor and, in my humble opinion; his being gets better, steadily, as his life goes on. He's working with a rotating roster of the best young rhythm section combinations from here to Baton Rouge, which of course often exhibits his youngest son, Jason. Marsalis is also featuring a tenderly virtuosic young vocalist, Johnaye Kendrick, who came to New Orleans as a student of the Theolonious Monk Institute of Jazz, located at Loyola University. Ellis is a master of cool, which he so terrifically demonstrated two nights ago. One of those “strange things” happened. I won't go into it here what occurred there but, if you really want to know – ask me, the next time you see me.

“There are strange things happening everyday.” - Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Yes indeed! Need I remind you of what endures as Mr. Danny Barker's message of Jazz? For Old Danny, Jazz expression was the hippest representation of a manifestation of the natural law of Cause & Effect. At least the hippest that America had to offer. No wonder how his wry sensibilities walked on a neutral ground of a life as, “an American citizen first, and an American Negro always.”
Danny could shake 'em on down deep in the vast sea of his being. He was bold, daring and; he understood well the workings of the various natural laws. Mr. Barker understood well the workings of the various unnatural (as in, man-made) laws, spoken and unspoken.

Indeed, Mr. Barker was the one to end up hipping me to, The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel, and he did this after his... end. His words: “This is the most important book that I have read, next to The Bible!” Need I remind you that Danny Barker read many books in his 85 years.

So here we be. Mais oui...! New Orleans is being visited upon, cornered, by a disaster of biblical proportions. How will it end? Cause & Effect. Cause, and Effect... Cause... and, Effect.

“I'm just reaping what I've sown.” - Ernie K-Doe

My life fascinates me. Well put! But what of, I...? I am living in a city that exhibits some of the most beautiful manifestations of the natural world that I have ever known. Summertime in New Orleans is worthy to be praised. From her mysterious, steamy stillness to her mystical, transcendent winds – NOLA whips it on me everyday as the Sun goes down.

Nonetheless, we are on the verge of a Dead Zone. I wouldn't know it though, as I sit beside a cage of Banana trees near my patio. (I don't live with TV.) It's... funny: as long as I am successful at commanding my mind to not think about the Earth Day Disaster, I'm cool. Yet I know, as Augustine of Hippo confessed, “The mind commands the body, but the mind cannot command the mind.” Nevertheless, this bold and daring African had, at the least, a hunch that the way of Jesus of Nazareth had a lot to do with the mind commanding the mind.

“The gas leaks, and the oil spills.” - Joni Mitchell

Early on, I referred to it curtly as, the spill – as I ultimately came to routinely referring to Hurricane Katrina not so curtly as, the storm. But this is not a “spill.” This is not a leak! This is not a spill... and it is much worse than the storm! The Earth Day Disaster is an explosion. And for a mind as explosive as mine tends to be, it is an event so full of metaphor that I would do better to create organized sounds, rather than... organized words. I will say: President Brother Man was correct in his usage; it is an event – a result – an effect of our Petrochemical Age.

We were handed this thing. It was well here by the time that I, Barack Obama, and every other post-WWII baby-boomer began our beings. Like TV, it was on while my consciousness began forming. (That bubblin' crude that Old Jed came upon taunts me.) We saw how plastic milk cartons replaced cardboard milk cartons – I vaguely even remember milk bottles. Hey... we saw on TV! – how bleach scouring powder became a fantastic liquid in a plastic spray bottle. Tide liquidated and its dividends are floating worlds of particulate plastic in the Earth's gyrating seas.

“All men shall be sailors then, until the sea shall free them.” - Jesus, according to Leonard Cohen

And the sea of our being will forever bear this cross and skull. The children, in the morning will begin to ask, like Malia Obama – at an increasingly tender age: “Have you plugged up the h*** yet, daddy?”

May the Petrochemical Age now begin to come to a peaceful end. Amen.

Peace & Pops,
Maison Musique, New Orleans
My Catalogue of CD's Available Thru A Locally Owned & Operated Retailer Worthy of Your Support:
MOMENTS OF SOUND: ESQUIZITO 1996-2006 is now available in Digital Download thru:
Amazon, iTunes, Emusic, Shockhound, Lala and, Rhapsody – which like iTunes, you would search for: esquizito

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Comment by Esquizito on July 6, 2010 at 12:33pm


Tar balls reach Lake Pontchartrain

More to follow.

Peace and Love,
Comment by Esquizito on July 5, 2010 at 12:35am

Yea'... what of, I...?

Here's a view of what a significant part of my current being is doing.

Sere Street: Excavations of A Life In Jazz.
May 21, 2010

Who knew? I had never cleaned out a Katrina house. No one asked me for assistance and; I never offered it. Admitedly, I avoided such a routine matter after returning to my own home in the “Almost Bywater” on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 – exactly 3 months following The Storm. Nevertheless, almost five years later, I sit in the car port of 1277 Sere Street – the last home on earth of Danny and Blu Lu Barker.

The house is mostly untouched since the federal levee failure and; Mr. Barker's archives are yet to be fully examined and disposed of. It is appaarent that my own Jazz life, my “sentimental journey” has led me here in order to carry out for this family what multiple thousands of New Orleanians have already done and, what many have yet to do. Two doors down from 1277, a house languishes untouched complete with toppled over toxic refrigerator and ghostly curtains wafting in the early summer breeze. Next door, a house remains boarded up with plant life not just prevailing but... conquering.

Being inside of The Barker's house feels as if I am stepping into another space/time dimension – perhaps another planet. Shapes, as in the walls etc., seem to float in space as sunlight presses and weaves its way through broken window panes and the wind torn roof. It is a dimension of life that one never imagined and yet, here it is – New Orleans style.

My life has a meaning now for which I did not ask. I did not have the opportunity to meet Danny Barker, or Lu. I only know of this man through his work which has called me ever since his name entered my consciousness and soon thereafter, his music and writings changed my understanding of things. More than a call, it feels as though I have been chosen.

Keep on smilin',



I wanna say, everything but...

1) Trash dumpster
2) Shovel, Wheel barrel etc.
3) Digital camera
4) Protective gear
5) Volunteers
6) Contributions
7) and yea', Media coverage/documentation

Monetary contributions may be made to:

Sylvia Barker
135 Cady Street
Rochester, NY 14608

All other assistance is greatly accepted; you may contact me here at TJNW or, via email: classicjazzvocals@yahoo.com







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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