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Making Music: Jackson Heights

On June 21, 2016 - the day of the summer solstice - under the rumbling of the 7 train’s elevated train overpass, the sounds of car horns mingled with the sounds of the musical horns of Ayiti Brass. The Q29 bus groaned to its final stop at the Manuel de Dios Unanue Triangle - a small pedestrian plaza at Roosevelt Ave & 83rd St. in Jackson Heights, Queens. People exited the bus and walked into the melodies and rhythms of Haiti, with a hint of New Orleans, and lots of Jazz with a whole lot of soul.

This was Ayiti Brass’ first preview performance and it was under the banner of Make Music New York, a yearly festival which features live music performances in public spaces such as parks, pedestrian plazas, sidewalks and streets, throughout the five boroughs of NYC.

A warm welcoming applause greeted the soloists, and passersby slowed their gait to take in the sounds..curiosity breaking their New York stride. During a pause, between songs, I invited audience members to exclaim, “Ayibobo!”, which is a Haitian Kreyol exclamation with multiple meanings, though it’s main meaning is akin to someone shouting “amen” or “hallelujah” in reverence and affirmation to what is being experienced in the moment. At one point, in a quick reply, audience members responded, “Ayibobo”, at exactly the same time a car horn beeped it’s approval in rhythmic fashion. A wave from a driver as the stop signal light changed, confirmed that he was listening and enjoyed what he heard.

There is more to come.

Here’s a moment from that day!

Goussy Célestin (piano, vocals, dance)

Clark Gayton (trombone)

Mimi Jones (bass)

Godwin Louis (alto sax)

Okai Musik (percussion)

Wayne Tucker (trumpet)

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