The power of music
Ah, the power of music.
There is no doubt that music soothes the soul. It speaks to what cannot be expressed. It moves us in ways that we couldn’t otherwise imagine. It affects the heart and makes us whole. It evokes memories of good times.
You know what I mean if you’ve ever heard a song that brings back memories of your first date, your first slow dance or your first romantic relationship. For example, whenever I hear cuts from the Swiss Movement LP featuring Les McCann on piano and Eddie Harris on sax, it reminds me of the day I met my soul mate, Robin.
It was the first day of spring and the pool was open for use at my apartment complex. There were a number of people either in the pool or relaxing on the adjacent lawn. I found a spot on lawn, put down my towel and the newspapers I brought.
As I settled down, I picked up a newspaper as if to read. I say as if because I was really using the newspaper as a ruse to see who was at the pool. My gaze swept from one side of the pool enclosure to the other, where I noticed a young woman lying on a chaise lounge. She was just in the process of getting up to sit at one of the umbrella tables.
There are two things I immediately remember about that first encounter. The first was that she was incredibly beautiful and the second was the sad look on her face. What I didn’t know at the time was that she had been quarreling with her father and was very upset. Although I had been poolside for less than 10 minutes, I decided to walk back to my apartment via her table.
As I came close to her, she looked up at me and the sad face turned to a smile. My heart melted when I asked if I could sit at the table and she said yes. After talking with her for a while, I got her phone number, got up to leave and promised I’d call.
She was still smiling when I left her table and I was grinning from ear-to-ear. The first thing I did when I got in the door was to turn on my stereo receiver, put the Swiss Movement album on the record player and sat on the floor listening to the cut, Compared to What.
Les and Eddie were cookin’. Totally tearing it up at the 1969 Montreux Jazz Festival. Spontaneous funk at its best. My ears were listening to the beat while my mind was thinking about how to get to know her better. The grin on my face increased if that was even possible.
This morning, I watched the live performance of Compared to What on YouTube. I mouthed the words singing silently with the video. My feet were tappin’ and my body was dancin’ in my chair. Toward the end, as the song builds to a crescendo, that image of Robin at the pool popped into my mind.
That first glimpse of her is still with me 37 years later. We’ve shared a lot of good times and few bad since then. We’ve shared the heartache and loss of family and friends. We’ve shared the miracle of our son, Robert, and the joy of raising him. I remember Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love playing on the radio as I drove Robin to the hospital to give birth to Robert and I think of that moment whenever I hear it.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Ah, that shows you the power of music, that magician of magicians, who lifts his wand and says his mysterious word and all things real pass away and the phantoms of your mind walk before you clothed in flesh.”
Music. It’s a beautiful thing.