What means Freedom? What is Truth?
This evening I thought about my cousin, Alma Laverne. She is beautiful. And, as a child she suffered from asthma. Her mother, Octavia, was my most loved and enjoyable Aunt. If I needed a place to sleep, I’d choose her household — even if I had opportunity to sleep at her sister’s house, in a better part of Oakland on Shattuck Avenue.
You might wonder what this has to do with Eddie Harris’ Freedom Jazz Dance. Well, actually, nothing … except the thoughts of Octavia beating the asthma out of Alma, as the most effective therapy at hand, bubbled into consciousness.
I don’t think it worked, despite the adrenaline rush Alma experienced which seemed to make it go away. And, with my own eyes I witnessed the failure of that therapeutic method. That she survived is the evidence that at least one god exists. It’s actually evidence of the miraculous nature of life itself. And, somehow, somewhere a hot steaming pot with some funny smelling stuff seemed to kind of help her through it, better than the thrashings. It was not pleasant to witness, so I know feeling it was worse. Sometimes, inhaling on a hot towel didn’t seem to deliver that well, either.
That’s one of the reasons I have always loved Alma. I guess I can also mention that I was really in love with her sister, Bobby Jean, after Alma was born. But, that never worked out. She married a guy in the Army. I didn’t like him at first. But, at 11 or 12, what could I do?
Back to the bass: Freedom Jazz Dance.