Jazz, Kerouac, and a Summer Night in Orlando

What does one say about a magnificent night? You know the kind: the one that lingers; the one that won’t let you sleep when it over. That’s this night in Orlando.

I sit on the porch at the Kerouac house with a liquor-tinged cup of coffee considering the gift I have been given: the chance to write and perform here. It’s very early Sunday morning and I’m just back from a lovely event at the splendid home of Summer Rodman, a board member of the Jack Kerouac Project, a sweet, energetic woman – and an accomplished poet. The Per Danielsson Trio played marvelously complex piano and string bass jazz, the kind Jack would have loved. Joseph Reed Hayes, poet and playwright, read from his work. And I had the opportunity to read from my new – in progress – manuscript, and breathe the same air of some 100 other creative comrades who love art, the beauty of jazz, and the spoken word.

The event was webcast live and I’m sure it will be available to see again through the Jazz on Edge website (www.jazzonedge.com) but the real thrill was being there live, drinking the wine, talking about Kerouac, sharing my work with other talented artists – poets, writers, musicians. The creative life was alive tonight in Orlando, a heart beating to the rhythms of so many good souls.

The neighborhood is quiet now; only the crickets and a far-off train whistle hang in the heavy Florida air. But if these were the late 1950s, there would be one other sound carrying over this memorable night: the furious tap of the keys on Kerouac’s Underwood, emanating from the small room in the back where Jack wrote until morning under a lonely, naked light bulb. It is said that one of Jack’s neighbors used to hear the music of Kerouac’s typing move lightly out of the small apartment and into dark night. What I would give to hear a little of that tonight? Ah, but it’s early. There are many hours before dawn.

David B

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