On The Road
© Jack Kerouac
|Lester Young's Hat by Herman Leonard|
Stranger flowers yet-for as the Negro alto mused over everyone’s head with dignity, the young, tall, slender, blond kid from the Curtis Street, Denver, jeans and studded belt, sucked on his mouthpiece and it was a soft, sweet, fairy-tale solo on an alto. Lonely as America, a throatpierced sound in the night...
.....Suddenly Dean stared into the darkness of a corner beyond the bandstand and said, “Sal, God has arrived.”
I looked. George Shearing. And as always he leaned his blind head on his pale hand, all ears opened like the ears of an elephant, listening to the American sounds and mastering them for his own English summer’s-night wise. Then they urged to get up and play. He did. He played innumerable choruses with amazing chords that mounted higher and higher till the sweat splashed all over the piano and everybody listened in awe and fright. They led him off the stand after an hour. He went back to his dark corner, old God Shearing, and the boys said, “There ain’t nothing left after that.
Something would come out of it yet. There’s always more, a little further-it never ends. They sought to find new phrases after Shearing’s explorations; they tried hard. They writhed and twisted and blew. Every now and then a clear harmonic cry gave new suggestions of a tune that would someday be the only tune in the world and would raise men’s souls to joy. They found it, they lost it, they wrestled for it, they found it again, they laughed, they moaned-and Dean sweated at the table and told them to go, go, go. At nine O’ Clock in the morning, everybody-musicians, girls in slacks, bartenders, and the one little skinny, unhappy trombonist- staggered out of the club into the great roar of Chicago day to sleep until the wild bop night again.