Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

(The full jazz track is included below.)

There are moments in one’s life that tingle in tender ways, and we respond, no matter how tough we think we are. Your feelings be stirred, usually by someone you really care for, yes, someone, in the moment, you even love. Mightily. Deeply. In ways you were previously unaware that you were capable of feeling, not to mention expressing. They open you to the world. To yourself. To discovery–as in “I never knew”.

Well, now you know.

Many times such meetings are not found among equals. One of you cares more about the other of you than… well, you don’t have a clue to just how much the other cares, but you are certain, there is no limit to how much you care. At such moments, you feel blessed to be encased in that special moment for howsoever long that particular specialness lasts.

Is this earthly nirvana a dream?

The human condition is so subject to change, to being shaped, or even overwhelmed, by outside forces, by imbalance.

It be rare when we are both found on the same page, at the same time, breathing the same air. And then, of course, if we hang together, inevitably there will come all the realities and situations that go with staying connected–unfortunately, it’s  not always exciting being with the same someone, a situation that can also become a drag, not the someone, just the “always” part.

Regardless of how exciting the music nay be, doesn’t even matter how hard the band swings, no solo lasts forever. 

And no use trying to recreate the joy that once was; a past bliss that we can never forget and, worse yet, we can never recapture. Only wistfully recall.

But as long as we are alive, why strive to dial back to the old when there is so much new yet to be experienced? Even if that new is bringing the weight of all the past connections stuffed into our bag of memories, totting those moments, those people, places and things, into wherever we now are.

Enough. Are memories sufficient or do we also always need presence and possibilities, could have been’s and what if’s?

We surrender because some lovers just know how to kill you with a combination of delicious cooking and sexy, intimate kindness.

One day we were eating something, like chomping on some lightly grilled salmon with roasted, small, red potatoes abetted by broccoli florets; or could be sucking and chewing on chilled, succulent sections of hand-fed, juicy, navel oranges; might even be as common as a well-seasoned plate of red beans and rice (yes, we are in New Orleans, or at least someplace that knows something about expertly preparing ordinary legumes, flavored by one or two sprigs of thyme, and maybe even a couple of crushed bay leaves along with a touch of love from the cook, whomever they be).

All of that undoubtedly tastes great, but, once again, what I most reminisce about is our skin on skin. After lightly dining we indulged each other with enchanting, exquisite, little somethin’-somethin’ caresses.

Sometimes when I am alone–really it’s more like when I am lonely, I revisit the tremors and thrills caused by your tender touches that special evening when we lay entwined.

Forget the future, I may never, ever, be moved like that again.

* * * * *

Pianist and composer Ahmed Sirour wrote about his work on a particular piece of music: a soundtrack for For Love Of Ivy (1968), a Hollywood movie from way back in the day, featuring Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln. Sirour described what inspired him and how he put the music together. Check out what Sirour said.


“Midnight, Melanin, and Manhattan (A Ballad For Ivy)” – #AhmedSirour (2022)

Like many others did, since the recent passing of my fellow West Indian/Piscean/artist, Sidney Poitier, at the age of 94, I took a trip down memory lane watching some of my favorite films of his. However, not many people know of or have seen a particular film he starred and directed in called For Love of Ivy, which is kind of surprising since Sidney was THE biggest movie star in Hollywood at the time this film came out in 1968.

To put it in perspective, he started filming this movie (an original story he wrote, himself) in the Autumn of 1967, but just a few months earlier that year, To Sir With Love dropped in the Spring, followed by In the Heat of the Night that Summer, and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner was up next that December to close out what was without a doubt his undefeated year as the King of the Silver Screen. While each film in ’67 was a blockbuster hit (and all dealt with the topic of racism in unique ways), “Ivy” was very different as it was a rare mainstream film showcasing two Black romantic leads–Sidney and the magnificent Jazz singer/activist Abbey Lincoln (who had a dope afro but they gave her a wig to wear in the movie, instead…cultural norms for 1960s Hollywood 🙄)–and it even featured the very first (though not explicit) Black lovemaking scene in a Hollywood movie. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t get much publicity over time as those other films did, because more radical than a 1967 film about an interracial couple was a 1968 one with a Black couple being physically intimate on the big screen–kinda ironic. The scene that this message and song is even about takes place late evening/early morning where the character, Ivy, looked so serene, gazing out over Manhattan at midnight, in the afterglow of her and Jack’s (aka Sidney) tryst, before taking the “throne” and looking over her sleeping “conquest” 😉 It’s a sexy scene without music, but I wondered what it would sound like with it. 🤔

Interestingly enough, the legendary Quincy Jones did an amazing score to this film, though I was surprised he left so much room open in that bedroom scene I’m referencing, because the original version of that scene had no music at all for maybe a solid 3 minutes. So, inspired by that space & opportunity, I took it upon myself to create a short, 1-minute original score of my own just for that part of the scene that you hear in the Instagram post I mentioned in a previous message that I created just to showcase it, but then I liked it so much, I decided to build on it to make it a full length track…but God it wasn’t easy! Aside from creating an original score from scratch, I was planning to get real horn players to record solos to it, since I had arranged and played my own “horns”, on keyboard, for the hook. You see, while they sounded realistic enough for the hook/melody line, if you heard how fake it sounded when I played the trumpet or saxophone solo on keys?? Horrendous!! 😖 🤦🏾‍♂️ As for the horn players, they were either willing but unable to do it, or couldn’t do it until past my deadline (since I originally planned to drop this on Valentine’s Day, but had to settle for the day after). 🤷🏾‍♂️ Well, the next best thing I could do was scour the Internet for royalty-free horn samples that weren’t very long in time length, but I had to meticulously edit/cut/re-pitch/EQ/piece together sooooooo many different clips until I custom made solos for the “featured trumpeter and saxophonist”–sort of like a musical Frankenstein’s monster of combining many royalty-free musician recordings just to make two soloists lol

Despite all that, I really do hope you enjoy this piece, which I worked really hard on and feel proud of because I always loved classic jazz scores in films and this one feels like I’ve finally reached a point in my life that my musical skills have caught up to my mind’s imagination to create really good ones just like you hear in movies; all I need now is to have this additionally scored with a real string orchestra and it’s all over–next level stuff! And in keeping with Black History Month, I celebrate Sidney, Abbey, and this wonderful film and that historic & beautiful display of Black Love (and love, in general), plus this song will be featured in my upcoming album–22022022–that’s dropping on Feb 22nd, 2022…one week from today! 😳 I have so much to get done in such a short amount of time because some contributors I was waiting for didn’t come through (especially why it took me longer to finish this song) so I’ll have to see what I can use and what may have to get cut and released at another time…everything for a reason, though, and even if it’s just an EP of a few quality songs, I’ll be content with that.

Until then, I hope you really enjoy this one and that the inspiration that it infused it flows through to your ears and gives you something sexy to chill to, whether you relax and listen to it on your own, or if you share this with some pleasant company (post-Valentine’s vibes lol).

Available now on my, here on Bandcamp, and later on on most streaming sites (in maybe a week’s time). Spread the word!

released February 15, 2022