Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Little Light

I ran my basin full of hot water...I splashed some gingerly on my face...then I rubbed some facial scrub in the palms of both of my hands and rubbed it across my face...I then added some hot water and gave my face a good scrubbing....Then I washed it off and added shaving cream to my face and lower neck...I took out my razor and began to slowly shave my face as the steam from the hot water rose from the basin....I took my time and made sure my face was as clean as a baby's behind...

I then washed my face with a facial wash gel an warm water...patted it down and looked at myself in the mirror...I looked good...The shower awaited me...I took a hot shower..., got out, toweled off, splashed on some cologne and began to dress... I had three new suits I had bought in Europe in my closet...I chose a dark blue suit, a nice white shirt and a new tie...My shoes...weren't new, but expensive.... Had to look my best... I was sitting in with a new player tonight at Josies...

My name is Robert Brown... Downtown Rob Brown....I play trumpet....

I drove to Josies and met the new guy I was sitting in with in the dressing room...His name was Ralph Carter...He played Tenor Saxophone. He was from Philly, but like me...Had returned after twelve years of living someplace  else. He looked at his watch-

"You're late." he said.

''Heyyy man...When we get on that stage and start playing...I'll be right on time." I joked... The other musicians with him, who I did not know, did not crack a smile...and in fact turned away.

"You think it's funny? Being late for my gig?  How bout I deduct $200.00 from your pay?" he said.

"What? ,How bout I not play at all?" I said.

"How bout I sue you for breach of contract?" he said.

He was right!  I had signed a contact..Something I never did before. If I was sitting in with Bone or Reed or Symphony Sam...We made word of mouth agreements and sealed it with a handshake....This guy had me sign a legal document that was notarized...I could be sued....

Just as things were about to get tense... Gus came into the room...

"Okay fellas, you're on!" He said.


The band, I would find out were all contract me...Guys he had hired to play with him...He didn't have a working band...No one would stay with him past two or three gigs...He was arrogant and foul tempered and seemed to find an insult in practically everything...The man had no sense of humor.

He could play though and playing with him was interesting...The Keyboardist, The Bass Player, The drummer and I were locked in tight...we had a good groove going....and Ralph's Saxophone was soaring....
The crowd was digging it....So much that after we played two sets...They asked us to play an encore set....
We did and we got a standing ovation...

We all came out and bowed...Then He came out with his sax and bowed by himself!....A ham at that!

Then there was the matter of pay...I watched as he paid the Bassist , The drummer, and the keyboardist...They all thanked him and quickly left....When it came time to pay me....My money was indeed
$200 dollars short.

"Hey man...yo....I'm light here!" I said.

"You were late." he snapped.

"What are you, James Brown?" I asked.

"I'm disciplined is what I am...You work with me, you're on time." he said.

"Guess what...I'm done." I said.

''Oh no...we got a gig tomorrow night" he said.

"You got a gig tomorrow night....Me? I'm done...I got a band of my own...and I don't treat my guys like that." I spat...

"I'll sue you." he said.

"Then sue me then." I said and walked out of Josies.


The next morning, Meek Rollins and I sat in Mabel Jenkins's soul food joint having a cup of coffee...

''Hey Meek, where is everybody?" I asked.

"Reed and the band are on the road....Debbie and your girlfriend are on tour with them...Deb is covering the tour you know...Kevin's boy, Sean Jackson and his wife are with them too.." He said.

"What about Bone Hampton?"I asked.

"Bone in love...He and Ella are in Puerto Rico?" he said.

"Puerto Rico?" I said.

"Yeah, they playin a week long gig there...But what is this I hear about you settin in with Ralph Carter?? Heard you guys turned it out." he laughed..."I can't wait to see you guys tonight....I missed it last night." he laughed.

"Aint gonna be no tonight....At least not with me...I quit!" I said.

"You quit??? Man that guy will sue the pants off of you...Why you think he can't keep no band members, He's serious business man...?" said Meek.

"Screw Him..." I said.

"Don't look now Rob, but there he is , comin in the front door." said Meek..

Ralph Carter was coming in the front door and headed for our table!

(To Be Continued...)


Brenda said...

Nice! The Musicians are back!

Sunflower said...

That means the streets are quiet! No gunfire! LOL...Just kidding!