Now I know better. For the last several years, during visits and whatnot, I've listened almost exclusively to WWOZ while riding around town. When I get a car, I will have exactly two stations programmed into my buttons: OZ and WTUL. (Hey, shut up. I am so not too old to listen to "college" music.)
Our triumphant return this week has of course coincided with the 42nd Annual Jazz Fest - which I will go right ahead and call the most important music festival in the country. If you've never been, it's hard to describe the enormity of it. At any given time, there's at least eight or ten bands playing - for eight hours a day, for seven days over two weekends. You do the math.
During Jazz Fest, OZ broadcasts live from the Jazz tent, and also plays selections from the various performers of past and present fests. And one song that I am hearing over and over, that hits me in the heart in a way that's hard to describe, is "We made it through that water" by Free Agents Brass Band. Starting out with blasts of brass and a refrain of "I'm so glad to be back home," it captures the pain and the love and the near euphoria I'm feeling of finally being back in this place.
When I lost my city, almost lost my mindThe song addresses some of the far more severe suffering that went on in the city, experiences that I didn't even get close to - thank/but by the grace of (choose your deity). When they sing "we made it through that water, that muddy muddy water," they don't mean it figuratively. They mean up to the chest. But it also waves rebirth in the face of destruction. You can take our houses, and you can take our cars. But you can't take our music, or our love. YOU CAN'T HAVE OUR CITY. We will take it back. We will always take it back.
I'm in and out of hotels,
Feel like I'm doin' time
Like I know
Ain't no city like