Theatrical jazz: performance, Ase, and the power of the present moment

2015 ChoiceReviews  
The goal is always God. -Sekou Sundiata 1 Not knowing the break Needing a tribe Wanting the river to claim me everything is everything. Jazz and Yoruba spiritual traditions and theatre arouse my unspeakable curiosities, arresting my attention-poised, ready, tantalized. The way Coltrane's "Dear Lord" moves in me, and evokes so many things at the same time, is like prayer in the groves with the calabash held high. When Thelonious Monk ka-plunks a note, and something in me awakens, when my body
more » ... es around the circle with my back bent for o • bàtálá and I smile and want to just cut loose in my own improvised praise to the force of justice and wisdom-it is all striking the same vibration, tweaking the same root. When I stomp, wide-legged, flinging sweat around the performance circle and declare, "this is where it all comes together"-I know that mama's biscuits made to the harmonies of Brook Benton and Dinah Washington, I know that people jumping with the spirit at second Baptist Church in Harvey, Illinois, I know that my coming out and coming in are the forces of the deepest power, are spirit, art, and eros, are abínibí-natural, as it should be, is. At some point for me it all became the same thing-that awe filled place of the most profound truth that when accessed, when respected, would change everything. Could I go there? Would I choose truth and power over a beautiful mask? I ask myself this every time I am in the presence of this work. It takes me to the edge,
doi:10.5860/choice.192626 fatcat:h3nqnj3innhsjkutongfg3lebm