Corey Mwamba


the flow of time is the timing of the flow

after a half-remembered sentence; and a question from pianist Steve Tromans

I am listening to ESP again. Davis and Shorter do not quite phrase together. Hancock and Carter play slower than Williams. Yet they are all together, undeniably and irresistibly. I allow my ears to recede from the fine grain to listen to larger weavings of sound; and I begin to nod my head to an imagined metronome created by what I can hear. It does not tick; it says mm. It rises and falls with specific sound events; it is not regular, but it feels steady. I transfer the head nod to my fingers on the table, next to my Merlot. I watch the surface of the wine vibrate as I tap. It looks regular—but then I hit a point where I feel/hear the "mm" and then it is not. I refuse to count it.

Shorter plays the first phrase of Little One and I am sixteen again. Davis signals time to stop reminiscing by whistling.

Davis reins in the tempo of R.J by his third note, and pushes it forward exactly when he needs to. Hancock's solo is never silent, but has an economy so well controlled the groove is in surplus.

Williams locksteps with Carter using the ride. And then he doesn't.

I stop listening for a moment to wonder how many more things this album will teach me, over how many more years.

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