Back in the early 90’s on my nights off from my night shift at the Bodega I had time to kill.I was improvising my sleep pattern,and with bad sleep apnea at the time I was kind of like Spock that one time the transporter couldn’t fully phase him in.My life became a full time OBE,Out of Body Experience.Sometimes I would practice in the subway or go to the Blue Note after hours jam but sometimes I just felt to weird.I would usually try to sleep from 11am to 6pm.I slowly learned that while some people are nocturnal,I am a creature of the SUN,and to deny her completely was I believe deadening my life force.My Trumpet felt so heavy.
Sometime during this period I became friends with a street vendor who sold shirts with the images of Trane,Eric,and Monk.We used to get together at his place or mine.He had every record Trane ever did and our M.O. was to sit and listen to all of them.We hardly spoke.He let me make cassette copies of them and I was on a dub mission.The last time we hung out he stole the vinyl right from the sleeve of my original copy of Trane’s meditations,so I never gave him back the copy of OM he lent me.Trane wouldn’t want us hustling each other just to get his music but that’s what went down.All I knew was that Trane’s music contained something important,something vital that I needed on a core level.
One night that I had off from work I left my spot round Midnight with a walkman and a cassette of OM.I just started walking and listening with no destination or agenda.”Trane is the king of changes” I thought.
I was soon confused yet intrigued by the chant in the beginning.”The clarified butter?” What was Trane getting into this time? First listen I was down but the music coming from Pharaoh had me a little scared,ain’t gonna front.Just how would a trumpet respond to this? At this moment I had never heard any music from Albert Ayler and his brother Don.
I kept walking and kept listening.No subway..I needed to stay above ground for this.The deeper and deeper I went I started to feel something inside.This music was giving me a connection to my soul on a level I had never felt before.I ended up sitting on the steps of a church and kept listening asking myself questions about the nature of reality.I was slowly reaching for and accepting that their is much more to life than what we see.That Trane,one of my favorite musicians went there on this level meant that this was something I was going to have to confront,the nature of my own spiritual and musical reality.
What is that bright light?
Oh shit.A police car is parked across the street and they have their brights on me.I cant see.A cop rolls up slow and steps out of the car.A line of questions follow with the strong advice that I leave and go home.It’s stressed that I had better have no intention of doing anything bad to myself,others,or maybe the church.The check for drugs or weapons came up negative.Good thing I had ID.My spiritual music experience with the record OM was over.From it however I took something with me that I’ll have with me for the rest of my life and beyond..a true connection to my own soul on deeper levels that has given me many unique and even impossible experiences since then.I never needed the LSD or any other of the..um..supplements..
If anything,it was at that point that any notion of being a graphic artist,an actor,or being a family man with any kind of stable or traditional life was utterly destroyed.My life would become primarily a musical and spiritual practice for better or worse. ..
POOF! It’s 2013 and I just turned 43 today.How did this happen? Where did all the time go? Birthdays are a good time to reflect on what you’ve done and are doing with your life,that’s what brought me here today.
At this point I can also look back and blame MILES.As if his Funny Valentine live solo wasn’t enough,the cocaine stories in his book finished me off.Truthfully I got it Bad as soon as I heard Louis Armstrong play the blues in high school,but Miles and Trane made the Transition complete.
At least I know I’m not alone.Crazy Art Blakey live record on Spotify that I found has Wayne playing ALL Trane,I mean a complete cop.Lee has the Harmon mute in tight and calls Round Midnight.I cant imagine having that level of influence on so many.
As I write I’m listening to OM once again.I haven’t sat down with it since then.It still resonates but after hearing David S Ware,Charles Gayle,Sabir Mateen,and brother Ras Moshe my ears resonate steadily on a higher frequency.This is the 4th Dimension after all.
I’ve had to create my own relationship with it without getting a Tenor.I have to stand next to a wall of Tenors every day,but I keep reminding myself that Trumpets have access to that level of Spiritual Power to.Thank you brother Roy Campbell.
I can say without a shred of doubt that none of us might be here if this music didn’t exist.
For Donald Rafael Garrett