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Spirits Rejoice: Book One is the first book in a trilogy. The story, set in the near future, finds three teenagers discovering the music of Thelonious Monk “Live At The Five Spot” and an adventure that reveals their connection with each other and the search for a jazz connoisseur from a time past.

Read Chapter One.

Hey Dad, his daughter had called out, there’s a saxophone player on the radio who sounds just like you.

Stick with me, Tony Kelvin had said, and I’ll make you a star. Well, that hadn’t happened had it; to either of them. So long ago, now, that had been. How long? Fifty years? Farrington Gurney flopped back in his favourite wicker chair, barely awake, another old memory trickling feebly into his dilapidated crumbling brain. Half of it gone, smudged.

Looking back was about all he could do, seein’ as how he was approaching his hundredth birthday. Or so he reckoned. He’d been playing one of his old recordings, of course they was all old, he hadn’t played a musical instrument for more than thirty years. Most of the saxophones are cast aside, jammed up, stuck solid, assorted gunk building up crud on the pads and tone hole rims, the springs rusted, the whole instrument a solid useless lump, abandoned, laying prone in its smelly, tatty, velvet-lined coffin. His drum kit is unplayable, the skins worn thin, all the mechanical movement of the high-hat, the bass drum pedal, worn to a frazzle, the springs not springing. And the small assortment of concertinas wheezing helplessly, their leather bellows holey, rotted. There’s still electricity, generated by a wind powered generator rescued from the back yards of long-gone neighbours who were conscientious enough in their day to believe in power-saving devices. He’d found several on the abandoned lots, enough to provide spare parts.

Either that or sitting comfortable, threadbare Panama hat keeping the glaring at bay, his old-style wicker chair in a perfect location among the circle of brambles, the gorgeous colours of Broom, the tangle of wild Roses and Morning Glory, Salmonberry, all celebrating spring, reading a book from his capacious library, jazz biographies of Monk, Miles, Mingus, Ornette, Trane… that he’d always intended to read. Never had the time. Now he has nothing else but. His only visitors are families of deer that amble in from the forest out back, approaching fearlessly, his presence a long accepted intrusion. Herds of them looking for hand-outs from his tiny enclosed garden, a treat to supplement their daily chomp of grass. Still their round soft brown eyes, slitted against the sunlight, flicker about, scanning, sensing danger.

He was never much good at estimating distances, how far away the horizon might be, now the surrounding twenty-foot high brambles closing in over all these years, blocking out any sort of view except the sight of the berries coming alive in the late summer – nutrition – only yards away. Well thirty feet perhaps. Encircling. How could he tell? Them always slowly closing in like that. The exit to the narrow laneway, a small archway cut through into the labyrinth, leading eventually down to the beach, is a prickly tunnel filled with the conversations of birds, insects and small animals, secret language clicking, clucking, snuffling, ghostly glottal stops whispering, not quite readily available: calling morning awake to evening dying into darkness. And all day long a rhapsodious orchestra of songs improvising with the susurrating, rustling, creaking forest. Noisy dryocopus pileatus bebopping jungle rhythms; the Great Horned Owl Wol – echo hoots; robins, junkos, starlings, sparrows irritating chirruping. Occasionally, spooked, he hears unattached voices floating across the unseen channel isolating him from the mainland, boaters perhaps, their dialogue without content, rising up among the early morning mist, joining the whirling voices holding fast in his head. A jumbled babbling symphony. Befuddling. The air smells of spring, what month is unclear, except that the clupea harengus pallasi have returned to spawn, laying thousands of eggs, sticky as they squirt out, attaching themselves to everything, their positions revealed by the milky white trail left by the male, a bounteous banquet for the hoards of marine birds wheeling about, screeching in delight. Sea lions bellowing and barking, jostling for position; sea ducks – the punked hair-cutted red-breasted merganser, double-crested cormorants and clangula hemalis gathering in rafts, diving; eagles snatching the spawned-out herring from the surface, and gulls – the scavengers – gobbling up the scraps. Cacophonous hundreds of thousands.

Spirits Rejoice: Book One is published as limited edition of 50 copies but is available free of charge at: Spirits Rejoice Book One