This here is Tommy Timmons

I’d play the way he plays.
I must lay my take because it only now makes sense to me;
As I listen to him now, I wish I actually learnt how to play the piano well.
I play ok
but can’t claim to be a player
though do consider myself a piano man- some affinity, whatever that may be.
Sometimes I feel I talk the way he plays
hopping through the syllables then alighting like chords back from lunar missions.
But somehow, Bobby goes somewhere else down there, at the keys, and I've been
listening all week but still can not figure it out.
S’posin’ I was to take up the piano- I’d do everything just like him
I’d take up smoking, between tunes lay on the stool
with the pack on my chest just to look cool
I’d dress well with a shirt and trousers, often hearing the rhythm not there.
I’d play until space conducted me a melody that collided the heavens with a hi-hat

and they would invite me to play in the roundhouse of Orion, and i’d play-
I’d play until I knew what it was that he knew, down there at the keys

I’d play.

Peace piece

I spend a lot of time alone, I create a little home inside myself.
I could be anywhere anytime really, and there’s nothing anyone could say to bring me
away.
The world ahead of me moves slower when I wish it to.
From my home I watch with purpose and somehow see everything with ease.
Like how these plant leaves jewel glint like fruit pastels
how the ripple in the water could be fragments of the past
climbing out to shore
The wind through the tree’s blowing all it’s colours for Autumn, I into it blow my cold
haze out like an airport but down the path I am in my thoughts
I see myself, sometimes down that path.
I look happy, Like a friend I'm about to meet
In fact! Here he comes now
he’s looking so peaceful
so calm
I see him very clearly
in this sunshine.
I’m going to join him now
stroll down the path a bit

As sunlight brings life to the pavements,
A sky reflecting magenta across brick,
Climbing the steeple,
Pushing rays of colour through stained windows,
Still.

But underneath there is a burst of life,
Where a swarm gathers around crooked tables
Held up with practicality.
Tables many years older than myself.
Heads swinging to the oh so intriguing, hard to grasp rhythm
That floats from brass, key & breath.
Hands forcing glasses to parted lips,
Words bounced back and forth in a rally of conversation
Each overthrowing the next.
Now the rhythm overthrows the voices, lips lie still,
No hum from the swarm,
No sound at all
But the music that enraptures the hive,
Tranquil, interrupted for a moment by a buzz causing a wave of digital commotion,
A calling from my companion,
The single hush is offered from a once again parted lip,
The interruption is not remembered by my ‘bev’ swirling brain
As the tune has taken over my thoughts,
Mesmerising pitches not once imagined by myself.

The ticket sits in my pocket waiting for my hands to fumble upon it tomorrow,
Reminiscent over the flickering red glow,
Reflected in the iris of the man sat next to me.
We were equally glued to the spot barely letting out a breath,
As the melody grasped every speck of my attention.
Now stumbling home bound, gagging for the return.

I don’t know much about Jazz. The church is monumental from this angle, there’s a queue already and the doors aren’t open yet. A chilly breeze tosses daffodil heads and flicks my neighbour’s scarf across my cheek along with a scent of washing powder and perfume. A sketch board is tucked self-consciously under my arm; glasses, pencils, booklight, paper, it’s all there. I hope they have my name down.

Light spills from the small arched doorway to the right of the church entrance and there’s respite from the chill and noise of traffic as we file in, checked off at the foot of the stairs by a man with a generous smile and a long list; folded into a corner, he issues us with thin paper tickets and we pass from that tight corridor through swinging doors to the crypt itself, where nightlights add splashes of red to the black and white walls. I’m grateful to be among the crowd; the place will warm up throughout the evening. There’s the normal jostle for a table but I know where I’m going, one of the huge brick piers that bear the weight of the church above has a table tucked behind it with a good view of the tiny stage without being so close you find yourself leaning back for the trombone solos.

I stake my claim on the seat with my coat, join the queue for a bowl of spicy clear soup and noodles, bearing it back to my table with extreme care as people continue to rearrange the furniture to suit their social groupings. Art students crowd round the circular tables with no view and easy access to the bar, regulars favour a table under an arched roof that offers a surround sound effect, old musicians seat themselves to observe the skill of the musicians as they make complicated music look easy, jazz nuts sit anywhere they can feel part of the action, nod their heads, interject enthusiastically, applaud at the right points and hush anyone foolish enough to converse during the bass solo.

Each band has their own way of occupying a stage that elevates them by less that half a metre. The drummer is usually jammed into one of the corners with all his kit and the piano is dragged in or out but rarely leaves the stage, guitarists often sit on their speakers - as Alan probably will tonight- and saxophone players are normally out front, crouching or leaning against the wall when not required. I have seen 7 people on that stage, a petite vocalist ducking during brass solos to avoid entanglement with a trombonist. However, from the moment the drummer sets the tempo we all get what we came for, audience and performers alike; listening, playing, talking and appreciating, each of us doing our own jazz micro jiggle to express our enjoyment as best we can in the small but important space that we have all made for live music in our lives.