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A Valentine Seduction

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My Valentine called the other day. She’s the most seductive woman I’ve ever met. Lithe as a vine, supple as a peach, she has a wraparound smile that just makes it happen. What’s so disarming about her isn’t her soulful beauty, however, it’s her soulful music.

As we spoke, in the background, I could hear carefully set to stereo volume the smooth riffs of Charles Brown’s 'Someone To Love.' Clifford Solomon’s smoky sax and Charles’ fluid grace on piano are both warm and chilly, like getting splashed with cold water while partially submerged in a warm bath.

I travel to her house for a Valentine’s evening of fun. We jump into my Mercedes 450SL (Hey, it’s my fantasy). She pops into the CD player Cannonball Adderley’s funky 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.' Cannonball and pianist Joseph Zawinul are laying down a beat like a housecat, fat and happy, and the night’s tempo begins to pick up.

We’re late for our restaurant reservation, but the maître d’ doesn’t seem to mind. He’s totally cool in his tuxedo, as he seats us while the room’s sound system plays 'The Legendary Stockholm Concert' by the Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane. I order Veuve Clicquot and our champagne glasses clink as we toast to the evening. If her aqua colored eyes weren’t so intoxicating I might be distracted by how far Coltrane is pushing the usually straight-laced melody of Miles’ 'So What?'

Holding hands we cruise down the street to her favorite nightclub. She loves the Sazerac cocktail, and since I only picked at my meal, I order the same. The night is starting to find its feet, in fact, her shoes are off and she’s rubbing my ankle.

Singer Joyce leads the house band and she’s catting her way through Ella Fitzgerald’s version of 'The Lady is a Tramp' before doing a meow with Louis Armstrong’s strong classic 'Too Darn Hot.'

The night is alive.

We need to dance.

We swing across the street to an old ballroom where a low-key big band is rolling into a Dizzy Gillespie composition, 'That’s Earl, Brother.' The fellow on vibes is doing his best Milt Jackson imitation and we’re cutting the rug, doing the cha-cha and the foxtrot, swinging into each other’s arms as if for no
tomorrow.

We slow down, toe to toe, when the band finishes out their set with Oscar Peterson’s 'Night Train.' It’s a blast when they come back for an encore, Ray Charles’ soulful, 'When Your Lover Has Gone.'

My feet are hurting and any more Sazeracs and they’ll have to call France for more Pernod. She suggests we go back to her estate and cool out.

I thought she’d never ask.

She lowers the lights, a fire cackles softly, and I listen to the arias of The Very Best of Jackie Wilson.

The world has just gotten very quiet. She’s changed from her evening dress into satin pajamas, changing the CD over to Dexter Gordon’s Dexter Calling.

Wow, I’m dazed like a sunstroke Legionnaire. The moon’s full.

No more talking.

We’re comfortable on the couch and things are starting to happen.

Happening to fall asleep that is. We both start snoring. Maybe it was the Sazeracs, or all the dancing, or maybe the bossa nova sounds of Stan Getz’s Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars that she put on at the very end.

That’s ok.

We’ve all the time in the world, and sometimes the greatest romance is the part before the kiss.

 
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February 14, 2019