The pain of being away from them has been excruciating. We have come to a place where there is limited live music and none of it is the jazz and soul that we so enjoyed in the Rose City.
Fortunately for my wife and I, our dear friends have not forgottten us and they have reached out to us in a wonderful and meaningful way.
We have made it a ritual of affection to always send a text message greeting before a performance of our beloved SoulMates and Toshi Onizuka Trio. This means that every Sunday afternoon, we are texting a greeting for a good show to Toshi and Reinhardt and Jon (through Toshi and Reinhardt). Today, they sent us the best greeting imaginable...
I had left my iPhone in the other room and did not hear the Facetime request call from Reinhardt. Nor did I immediately receive the above photo from Toshi with his greeting of love. I couldn't believe that I had missed Reinhardt's call so I called him and he answered! While they were in their third and final set! While he was playing drums!
There was only 20 minutes left in the third set but Reinhardt set up the Facetime call and placed his phone on the front and center table that Chieko and I occupied every Sunday at the Paragon. Oh, my God... we were home again, if only for 20 minutes. We were home!
Separated by 1700 miles and two times zones, we were able to attend the music of dear, dear friends live and at our special seats. We got to hear two songs and one of them was "Light in Shade." If you have read this blog at all before, you must know what that song means to us. In fact, Toshi calls it "our song." So do we.
As soon as Toshi played the opening notes, tears started to flow. Reinhardt's incredible rhythms joined in as well as Jon's jumping bass line. It was all so familiar and all so warm. Their smiles were so wide and their cheerfulness so lively. Chieko said that this dose of being with these friends we love was enough to energize her and give her strength when energy and strength have been so hard to find.
Jon was his usual wonderful self. His laughter is contagious. His humor touched us. There are so many stories to tell about Jon.
The amazing Toshi thrilled us again with "our song." In his quiet way, he spoke so much with so few words and a healing smile.
Our beloved friend Reinhardt. He showed us love in such a profound way. He always stays in touch with us. And tonight he brought us home.
We really love you guys.