Friday, February 26, 2010

Shape Shifting and Pogo Dancing to Ornette Coleman

During one of her recent listening sessions, DJ B opted to spend some time with Ornette Coleman's "The Shape of Jazz to Come," a CD that she hand-selected from the public library. Right when the music began she exclaimed, "Dance with me!" as she spun around and reached for my hand. She then set her sights on her singing lamb, yelling, "Lamb's coming!"

After opening her Mother Goose book to a page with blue and white squares on it, she told me, "It's a diamond, but it's it a square when I move it that way" while adjusting her head to show me her great understanding of shapes. After issuing a series of instructions to me, she told me, "I have a new dance. It's called the flower spinners." In rare form, she continued with a series of dances, telling me, "This one is called the kangaroo jumper. This one is called the pogo stick." She then swirled, saying, "Ice cream...strawberry shortcake...and spinach and cheese" before leaping through the air.

At this point it was nearly impossible to keep up with Miss B's flurry of both words and activity, but there was talk of butterflies, bugs and princesses, along with more instructions to me.

She then asked, "Do I look big?" When I said "yes," she said, "That's because I am big." She continued, "Read this and you can see...Practice it. Sing along. Do it with your fingers and sing. Sing!!! Say butterfly.... It's called the Butterfly Dancer of the World." With that she sang a bunch of nonsense words and played a few notes on her keyboard before turning the volume down on the CD player. She then calmly sat in a chair "reading" a book aloud, saying, "It says that a monster turned it off. And the CD died." She then said, "OK. I'll turn it back on" and turned the volume back up. Miss B then put a pink plastic chair over her head and yelled, "Help! I'm in jail!"

I'm exhausted just recounting her reaction to Ornette Coleman. I guess that's the power of jazz.

Monday, February 22, 2010

John Cale's Monster Music Sets the Mood for Roasting Marshmallows

John Cale's "Black Acetate" album was one of the CDs that DJ B recently selected from the public library shelves. During a day when we listened to a number of her choices, she put this on, saying, "This sounds like a great monster one. Let's go under the covers." She told me, "It sounds great" as she brushed her lamb blanket. Going along with the theme she added during the first song ("Outta the Bag"), "I heard him say wool! I heard him."

Miss B then sang into her black plastic witch party hat, crooning, "wooooo" like a ghost. As the 2nd track began, she said, "This is a good one. Now go under the covers!"

She continued with some imaginary play, asking, "Do you hear that sound? He got out of his cage. So we've got to hide!" She waved a remote control at me and added, "The monster is about to...He decided to go somewhere else to say 'hi' to his friends. He wake them up. The day after he said 'quack quack'...'wee, wee, wee all the way home...and then he said meow meow."

Then DJ B placed a blanket on the floor and said, "Aren't you ready for some marshmallows?" She lined up a bunch of washclothes and told me to "cut up some quesadilla shells and put them on a stick and make some fire. For real, mama." She added, "I'm pretending they're marshmallows. We're gonna burn them up. Make some fire. OK?" She then leaned on me during a particularly pretty song. As the music got more rocking she turned to me and asked, "Why did he say he's gonna kill him?" And with that, Miss B summed up the many moods of both John Cale and a 4-year-old.