Bands suggest a sense of occasion. From the apparently sleepy group of musicians, performing on auto pilot in Costa Rica, who had been hired to entertain the bus traveller queuing for lunch, to the energetic Mariachi band, strolling while playing, in the Mexican silver mining town of Taxco, the music of bands, either stationary or mobile, lifts the spirit.
Bands set a tone and adjust our attitudes. Dockside in Recife, Brazil, dancers whirl so quickly to the spirited music that they become a blur. In Key West, a base-voiced announcer booms to the rhythm of the reggae band playing the rude songs of Bob Marley, “We Say Goodbye to the Day and Hello to the Night Here in Paradise”.
Big band melodies drifting from a cruise ship’s ballroom or the sweet sophisticated jazz sounds of a quintet in The Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Plaza, high above New York long before 9/11, create a mood, instantly transporting us to a private place in the core of our beings.
Sun-soaked in the Mall in London, England, hopelessly trapped in seething crowds for the Queen’s Jubilee, our pulse is quickened by the brash sounds of the busbied players with their flashing brass instruments. This march, emphatic and powerful, can actually be felt. The boom of the huge base drums is like a giant’s heartbeat, quick and strong (Drum Horse and Jubilee Crowds).
Some years ago, we rented a house on Poorhouse Lane in Key West (Beside Poor House Lane, Key West, Florida). How prescient it was coming years before the recent stock market meltdown. Standing on a second floor porch during that stay, we watched a different type of brass band of black Conchs as they danced, white uniformed, behind a hearse making its way past our house next to the cemetery. This New Orleans style group played “When the Saints Go Marching In”, twisting and swaying to a sad, desperate beat for the latest victim of Aids, leading the mourners as they made their way down Solares Hill one more time.