The Jam Of All Jams

Last Sunday in Central Park was the worship service of all worship services, the jam of all jams, and the intimacy of all intimacies with the brotherhood of man and ultimately God.

My homey Carlos and I were walking along the path with our girls and found a good spot to sit down. He brought his bongos, and I brought my conga. I set the tempo with a moderate, steady 4/4 beat. After a couple of measures, he entered in  time against my beat. It was a perfect time to enter, and the syncopation moved our feet and never sounded better. It sent a chill to my spine as it ran into my bones. The therapeutic power of sound erased my anxieties, and after a while I didn’t think at all. The music did it for me.

The people gathered around and some went home to get some sort of an instrument; then came running back to join in. One homey brought a set of timbales and started improvising off the bongos. Then somebody brought a bass drum and started a steady and syncopated beat to compliment my conga. People brought flutes and horns and a various assortment of instruments. Strangers gathered together and sounded like a well rehearsed orchestra.

When it was time to modulate the key or change the meter or tempo, everybody changed simultaneously without even thinking about it. The brotherhood of sound and spirit just entered our bodies and wouldn’t leave us alone. It was “our” God that showed us the way to “The” God. We saw the Kingdom in all its majesty. We saw Isis and Jews with a Tallith draped around their shoulders, communing at the same table. We saw them reading the Bible and Christians reading the Torah and Koran, and speaking the same language. We saw the beast with seven heads looking through the eyes of the lamb. We saw it smiling in the flowers, then rising and waving its hands in the trees. We saw all religions in one body floating toward the infinite. Then after our hands and fingers had bled enough, it was time to come back to earth and live among the drama of life again.

My homey Carlos and I started the worship service with an unassuming jam that turned into the jam of all jams. We converted a very small portion of individuals that became one body, one sound, and one religion, all in one day. Praise be to God.

This really didn't happen to me, but I had one similiar experience. (The night I let God play the piano for me at a jazz club in New York City years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.)

Other works by Robert L. Martin ...