Thelonious Saved My Life


The most unexpected
The most improbable
There was a little record shop in my German home town

This little German town
Where I was born
80 percent bombed out
Also culturally
Old Nazis all over the place
There was someone who opened a little record shop
Vinyls, classical and german post-war kitch
There was a corner …
There was a lable: Jazz …
I was 14
I did not know much of Marx and Freud
I did not know anything about Jazz
I did not know much about the Jews of our town
Knew only that they had all disappeared
And that there was time
When one could have got their grand pianos
Or their villas and houses
For a “Butterbrot” (prize of a sandwich)
It was not only the “Jazz” in the corner
It was also a young and most beautiful sales girl
Who attracted me to this corner
The corner of exclusivity
In this corner
I discovered something unheard
Actually it was not Thelonious at first
It was Boogie Woogie
It was James P Johnson, Albert Ammons, Mead Lux Lewis, Pinetop Smith
In between Bach Inventionen & Sinfonias, Cerny Etudes and “Für Elise”
“Can’t you stop playing this Nigger Music?”
Yes, I could stop playing but
This “Nigger Music” saved my neck
Thelonious was still ahead of my understanding
But he was already waiting for me
With salvation
And redemption