BASIL IN THE COURTYARD

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Basil

My new friend Basil was the source

Of beautiful round flute tones

Beaconing me to the inner City Hall Philly courtyard,
His improptu set mixing with the streaming
Morning sun, brushing against the blooming trees
And a few people sitting around for an early
Lunch with authentic live music

We talked about flute: Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson leaping around stage, blending in jazz fusion especially in the intro to Chase The Clouds Away by Chuck Mangione, his and my appreciation of Chick Corea and Return To Forever and the famous album Heavy Weather by the band Weather Report.

There were others (we are the same age, 55) as our minds raced back through greats like Ronnie Laws, Miles Davis, even Tower of Power and Earth, Wind and Fire.

We barely kept from talking over each other as we stacked our memories like cordwood, no particular theme except the joy, the lasting
Joy from days past we both spent listening to scratched albums on back porches and the first steps of learning how to create music ourselves.

We didn’t even mind the lull, the pause when it was clear to us both with no further words required: music is the one thing, the only thing, that unites, that can be shared, that echoed in each of our souls

I remembered one final favorite. His face lit up, wordless. Quiet Afternoon by Stanley Clarke.

I had about two hours shooting photos before I was to watch my first-born son get married. I retraced my steps back through City Hall.

Echoing through the courtyard upon my return, as if a dream realized so soon without sleep, Basil playing the haunting theme from Quiet Afternoon.

“I played that for you,’’ he said as I walked back by.

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