Monday, December 05, 2005

We do what we can.

Last night I went to see 3 Now 4 at d.b.a. and saw Tim Green for the first time in a long while. Tim Green is positively the best saxophone player there is. He played sax with the Hi-Life Rescue Dance Band back four years ago, I guess, and I remember how happy I was to sing with someone who was so attentive to the group dynamic. He and I had a call-and-response, uh, "jam," and I was at that moment forever endeared to his playing.

I remember driving back to New Orleans from a gig we had in Lafayette. At the time I was volunteering for WRBH, 88.3 f.m. (Radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped,) and he talked about his tenure there and as station manager for WWOZ. He also talked about leaving his work in radio to work as a full-time musician. I was struggling with my own decisions. I'd just started graduate school and was singing with Hi-Life and bartending at the Dragon's Den and volunteering, and I didn't know what I really wanted to pursue. I can't remember what Tim's advice was, exactly. I don't think it was radical. Something along the lines of following one's heart, I think. At any rate, I just remember thinking that this was one righteous dude, so to speak. He's got the patience and wisdom thing down.

Tim sounded great. He was playing a crazy horn with what looked like the world's smallest diving mask attached to the bottom. At the set break he told me that someone gave it to him while he was in San Francisco after the storm--just walked up to him and said something like, "You should have this." It's appearently called a conosax and is one of only 12 in the world. It's worth $42,000. Anyone else and I would think that San Fran man was crazy, but I can absolutely understand feeling compelled to endow Tim Green with such a gift.

Tim looked great, too. Bru (from Hi-Life) and I agreed--he looks younger and happier than we'd seen him in a long time. Tim attributed it to his being happy to be home. I squeezed him too hard. I got tears in my eyes. After hearing that James Singleton is gone--even if he IS coming back once a month for gigs--after hearing that Rob Wagner and Schatzy and Jeremey Lyons and Devin Phillips and Nobu and so many, many, many musicians are not planning to come back, I was beginning to feel that our musicians would all abandon us.

I told Tim about a quote I read in this week's Gambit. Playwright Richard Read said, "We're all mouthing the same thing: 'Oh, we certainly don't blame anyone who has to leave; people lost jobs and homes.' But the emotional side of it is, 'Why don't you people move back? This is a great time to make things happen in the city.'"  We—Tim, Bru, and I—all agreed that it’s hard not to be angry, to feel a little abandoned by folks who’ve decided to leave—especially the musicians, but we really can’t blame them.Tim said there are lots of gigs here, that he’s playing all the time, solid.He said he wants to be here; that in Algiers, where his home it, life is good—so good that it can be hard to stay motivated to work on the recovery, but he sends out emails and he does what he can.Oh, and when he As long as there is music, there will be some semblance of hope.

Tim also told me about 88.7 f.m., which is being run out of Algiers by; I turned it on this morning, and it was like a fucking revelation.  The music is commercial-free, uncensored, and fantastic.  I heard old De La Soul and new Kanye West and Lauren Hill and Irish protest songs, and all kinds of music for revolution.  Plus, Tim says that the radio staff goes out with microphones and collects people’s stories.  They also announce resources.  I couldn’t help laughing when I heard this one: “A free clinic is available for treatment at preventative medicine at Mardi Gras World.”  A free clinic at Mardi Gras World!  Oh, the things we DO when we do what we CAN!

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