Freddie Hubbard – “Skagly” (1980)

It’s all blurring together, day following day, week following week, and even the weekends not offering much respite because most things are still closed and if you’re following the state’s recommendations you’re not meeting your friends and family face-to-face. The best you get is sharing a nod with another person when making one of your essential purchases, both of you anonymized by your masks, only the eyes showing any emotion. And that emotion is, as often as not, a sort of resignation, all of us just wanting this to be over.

It’s May, which in Seattle means a few beautiful days of sun and perfect temperatures, followed by a few rainy ones that are surprisingly cold after finally seeing the sun for the first time in six months. You want to be out and a about, and sure, you can go for a walk, but you can’t really go somewhere. I crave walking through West Seattle or Georgetown to get brunch and buy records and maybe stop at a market to pick up something to grill later, or some cupcakes for desert. I want to be out there with a bit of a bounce in my step again.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with Skagly, well, that feeling, that craving is completely and perfectly expressed by Hubbard’s horn on “Happiness Is Now”. Sometimes the horn walks, others it has a slight strut to it, and sometimes it breaks out into a quick dance, the kind of sidewalk soft-shoe you might do when out enjoying time with your friends, perhaps after imbibing in a glass of wine or two. Hearing it on a quiet, rainy Saturday morning, one with the slightest promise of clearing up later peeking around its edges, made me both happy and wistful, longing and hopeful. I’m not sure what the new normal will look like, or how we’ll reflect on this period five or ten years down the road. Hell, maybe this will be just the start and things will get worse. As for me, though, I’m staying hopeful. Hopefully that I can toe-tap down the sidewalks again sometime this summer.