|musical goddess TreZure empire|
MY FIRST EXPEREINCE WITH JAZZ AND THE MUSICAL GODDESS
this woman here is one of the first artists to assist me in cultivating the term musical goddess. my extended journey into the musical realm began for me late in life. pause... rewind. i believe myself to be extremely well acculturated in various genres of african american art forms. i was been born and raised in harlem by parents who were serious afrocentrists, artist and civil rights activists. i was working at a book store cafe named hue man and was extremely bored and felt completely exploited. i was an excellent saleswoman.thus, i was pretty much earning the salary of myself and co-workers every day and was tremendously bored and disappointed,,, with my life.... the gentrification process of harlem and black culture. with hip-hop being completely materialized and exploited, i felt like there was no hope and was pretty much done with harlem, done with black culture.... done with america and essentially ready to leave the country. ready to experience something new, fresh and spiritual. it was actually a consistent prayer of mine that i be removed from this culture of america. i could no longer stand it. one day, a man by the name of Vincent Lampkin walked through the door. I knew him from the streets of harlem, he was always promoting his venue st.nicks pub...a jazz club and he had invited me on several occasions to work for him. " no" i would respond "i am hip-hop"..."i am hip-hop not jazz." i would say defiantly..... and he would shake his head and just walk away. well one day he came into hue-man book store and i urged him over to the cafe counter." please," i begged him "please get me out here," " i need a job." i am miserable and this place sucks," i whispered and giggled. "okay it’s not much money...it’s a jazz club and you will be serving drinks and if your good ...you'll get good tips...see you on Thursday at 8p.m.." he informed me "okay” i replied relieved.
that night i put on a dress and went to work. when i walked through the door i was traumatized and frightened. i had been around and experienced street culture but THIS environment and its participants were unfamiliar and i was afraid. vincent disappeared and a man named floyd appeared he told me he was security. it was dark, dim there were a lot of men and there was a woman walking around in a cat suit, a mask and a whip in her hand. the crowd was old school and there was heavy smell of liquor. i saw white men , black men and toothless women. it was a matrix that i had never entered before.... i had been set up and i knew it. "what’s ur name?" Floyd inquired. my mouth was glued shut.... i was speechless, my heart was racing and i was looking for a way out. i heard music but could not hear. my third eye was focused on the density of the souls that i had encountered. he proceeded to show me around... i needed space... he opened the door to the backyard , the heavy metal door opened with a slarge squeak attached to it and closed with a giant slam..."this is karimu" he yelled to the patrons "our new cocktail waitress." every one kind of looked up in syncopation with out saying a word and in that same rhythm went back to what they were doing. "is this the bathroom i whispered." choking back tears. "yes go ahead." he answered. "I’ll be right here."he consoled. i went into the bathroom and wept. mommy is going to be soo upset with me i cried big tears, i was not raised to be in this type of environment." i cried, i believed that i had been set up. i got off my knees done with my prayer for help and protection and opened the door. "why are you crying?" floyd exclaimed. "this is a safe place we are not going to let anything happen to you." he said to me as i hung my head down in shame. he grabbed my chin and said "look nothing is going to happen to u hear i promise." he said to me earnestly. and then i began to hear the music. i looked up on the stage and there were three woman ,treZure Empire, courtney bryan a brilliant pianist and lakecia benjamin a female saxophonist and to top it off they were younger than me, brilliant and fearless... courtney bryan was tearing the keys up on the key board, treZure was singing a blues esque song and lakecia benjamin had captured the spirit of miles davis it made me laugh and i thought to myself she thinks she is miles davis. and she was. that night . it tickled me. everytime i looked on stage i cracked up . joy. i straightened up pretty quickly seeing them on stage gave me courage. if they can be there.... i for surely can work here. it was great night and my world had become expanded, it was a rites of passage for me to be a part of the Jazz scene where black soul and spirit reside and thrive, untamed and untapped by commercialism. for me jazz is one of the most authentic preserved african american art forms and being inducted into this world was an honor and a privilege to share air with what i believe were the anointed, the beautiful ones that could hear, see, and present gods interpretation of joy and share it with the world...the musical goddess...the musical gods....karimu abena hamilton