The Chocolate Workshop

By Damani Harrison

About two months ago my man Clarence calls me up.
“Yo, D,” he says, “how ‘bout coming out and kicking some rhymes at the Outback Lodge on Wednesday. Andy Rowland and Matt Ferguson are coming out, too.”
I was like, “Alright, bet. I’ll spit a little something.”
So I go out to Outback. There were a few people in the audience. Clarence, Andy, Matt, Drew (bass), Stewart (drums), and I kicked out some ill poetics and had an all around good time. I left thinking to myself that this jam session thing has potential. The extra $10 from the door that Drew slid into my pocket didn’t hurt either.
Clarence calls me up again about month ago. This time he’s all excited.
“Deeeeeeee,” he says, “I got it!”
“This time out we are gonna get Andy Waldeck on bass too. You know, dude from Earth To Andy?”
“Yeah. Two bassists?”
“Yeah, dude. Plus Joe Lawlor’s coming out too… and this dude Kevin Murphy on drums. It’s gonna be the bomb.  Man, if this works out then I’m a quit my job.”
“Let’s not get too hasty, bro,” I say calmly. “You still want me to come out? My week is hectic.”
“Come if you can. No pressure. This thing is wide open.”
That night The Chocolate Workshop, as the jam was dubbed, played to a capacity house at The Outback. The turnout was a surprise to me. I knew the cats I was playing with were established, but I had no idea word of mouth could pack a venue in less than 48 hours. Considering the entire night was freestyle and improvisation, I think it went pretty well.
Everyone got a chance to shine under the spotlight. I felt unworthy to be in the company of such talented musicians. In all fairness, there were a few rough spots, but they were overshadowed by the many moments of musical clarity.
Two weeks later The Chocolate Workshop met again. This time Alicia (the beautiful and talented trumpet player from the final days of Baba Seth) joined in. A couple of people came up from the audience to lend a hand to the grooves, which ran the gamut from rap/metal to chilled out funk. That’s what happens when you put together such an eclectic group. I wonder what or who Clarence is gonna pull out of his hat the next Wednesday TCW performs. 
Whatever it is, I’ll be there to find out.

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