Excerpts from Are We A Band Yet?

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“The real truth in this book is their love that jumps out of the pages and hits you squarely between the eyes. It’s the musical chord that completes the emotion.”

Solomon James


 

They started playing in earnest, and after missing a few beats, I joined in, trying very hard to be on time with my strokes. It became obvious that in the din of noise being created, my additions made little or no difference, and once past that, I began to relax as I played and started to, at least, feel party to the music.


 

“I’ll level with you. We want a singer. The way Brenna looks…well, I’m sure you know.” Yes, Tom was right. She stops traffic. If she just stood on stage with the band behind her, she would only need to look like she might sing to attract an audience. I was used to it by now. She turned men’s heads. She knew it, I knew it and so did Tom.


 

They could never see past the woman standing there, but I could. She was the same fragile, shy, even introverted, little girl with big eyes whom my heart danced around even during my dreams.


 

At first, her voice was small and hesitant, but her notes were pure, and her emotions, genuine as the air she breathed, came out as well. I tried to concentrate on my hands, attempting to avoid running off the keyboard in spots, but I couldn’t help steal glances toward her. It was a show, even for me, and I thought I knew every part of her by memory.


He held the neck of his guitar gently, frequently swiping the length of the neck with his hand for no reason other than to have contact with it as if it were alive and would respond to affection. I noticed that his hands were muscular and thick but could stretch remarkably to attain a difficult combination of notes.


 

“Me teach a White Boy something about jazz, you say?” He paused and looked at the others. “I don’t think that it’s possible, and what is that you have in your hand?”


She was giving me what I call the night-and-day treatment, moving from her tender look of affection, her hypnotic female traits, to the old cold shoulder. I preferred being beaten with a stout club.


 

I looked up at her when I could and realized that she had turned toward me, her eyes were on my face, her smile directed at me and me alone. The moment welled up moisture to my eyes which caused a brief bit of panic when I had difficulty seeing the sheet music.


 

“Sure, can I call you Zap?”

“No, it’s Mr. James to you, White Boy,” he answered. “By the way, this be Maynard, Joy Joe and Peaches,” he said while pointing to his friends one by one. “They OK, and they all know music, and if I’m not around they can take care of you.”


 

Zap stood up clapping when it was done and was happier than I had ever seen him. He came over to the girls and said, “That was grand, just grand. Brenna, how about joining White Boy down there for a moment, and let me see if Mill still remembers some of our old stuff.”


 

“You remember that I warned you about this, and it has happened on a scale that even I didn’t anticipate. Do you think that she is strong enough to take all this pressure, Dan?” he asked.


 

“Believe it, Mill is one tough broad. I usually scare people but not her. She denied everything, even knowing Brenna. I checked the room, and there are way too many clothes for one lady. Too many bags, too. Wherever Brenna went today, she didn’t take luggage.”


 

“You know that you couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to follow her from city to city and that is what it usually takes in this business. You know that you had to let her go. I believe that you knew that all along even if you don’t want to admit it.”


They pretty well laid it out for her. A future of fame and big money is not a dream but real. Here it is, take it.


 

Brenna looked at me and held my eyes for a long time. It was
not my place to advise her on this. I refused to be a blockade in her path, and the decision was her’s alone, and I made an effort to not express any emotion.

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