Part 2 - The Heart Music

It's the Harlem Renaissance, hepcats, where no one can take away a Black man's self-respect. But even in a promised land, people have their troubles, and people have to do for one another - so put on your righteous duds and make Harlem all it can be!

Year 1927.

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Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Wednesday night saw the end of Harlan Covington, but Jacqueline saw a commonality between the effects the traceries of light in that black limbo, and the effect had on her by the "Heart Music" played by Walter Locke. Whether that is more than coincidence is an open question, but the next time he's playing it at A'Lelia Walker's place on Saturday.

In the meantime, Ellis has teaching at Mott Hall during the days. It does mean he gets to see James, who can confirm that he and Alexander have had no further dreams.

Jacqueline, who may or may not be surprised by this, receives an invitation from Washington Hughes to dine out with him on Friday Night at Salome's Restaurant. On Friday morning Jacqueline also receives a letter from Alexander Senior's uncle in New Orleans.
Spoiler:
He confesses that Harlan Covington was a man he had hoped never to discuss again, but the sake of his family... The man had the heart of the devil - sometimes when he was drunk and in the mood to abuse his slaves, he would claim to literally have the heart of the devil - though he used some other name for it that Alexander Senior's uncle can't recall. He died by a gunshot, in a locked room. The men from town didn't want to rule it a suicide, but they couldn't find a way to blame it on the slaves. [Jacqueline will recall that the guy she called in New Orleans couldn't find a record of the cause of death]
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Jacqueline gladly agrees to meet Washington Hughes for dinner. After everything he did to help, it's the least she can do. She shares the letter she received with Ellis when he is finished teaching for the day, as he would certainly be interested.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Ellis shrugs.

"Hopefully, we've heard the last of him. Hopefully."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"I think he's finished," says Jacqueline. "If he could have done something, he would have by now."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Salome's Restaurant turns out to be run by an Arab family - the cuisine is unlike anything Jacqueline has tasted - there's hot spice, which she will have tasted in Spanish food, but also a fruitiness that wouldn't seem like it should go. Unfortunately no alcohol, even under the counter. Washington is a perfect gentleman, walking her home after, and not asking to come in.

Do either of you plan to attend Walter Locke's next performance of his "Heart Music" at A'Lelia Walker's on Saturday?
Spoiler:
I realise the thead title is begging the question somewhat, but it won't mess anything up if this episode turns out to be really short. :)
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Ellis is curious about the music after hearing about it from Jacqueline.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Jacqueline also wants to find out more about the Heart Music and why it is so similar to the phenomenon she noticed in the other world, so she will also attend.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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A'Lelia Walker is the daughter of America's first black female millionaire. While she inherited her mother's business, she devotes most of her attention to Harlem's social scene, sponsoring artists and performers of all kinds. She lives in a mansion in the Golden Edge, the most exclusive part of the neighbourhood, overlooking Central Park itself - she holds a regular salon there - in years to come, it will be known as the Dark Tower, but for now it's just A'Lelia Walker's place, an address known to everyone in Harlem.

Her gatherings are racially integrated, blacks mixing with whites as freely as they can anywhere. Mrs Walker (she has been married, though Walker is her mother's name) sometimes plays with this, serving black patrons better food and drink than her white ones, something that her wealth lets her get away with.

When you arrive, you find this is the case tonight - it is of course up to you whether that brings a smile to your face.

Jacqueline's well known enough that she can get in without an invitation - this extends to Ellis too.

The evening is packed. Wallace Thurman, novellist and editor of the magazine Fire!!! is reading exerpts from his work. You get another chance to hear Willie Smith on the keys, though this time he has a rival in the form of Duke Ellington. There is more reading, this time poetry from Countee Cullen.
Spoiler:
I love this sourcebook. I wouldn't have gotten a quarter of this researching on my own.
Walter Locke takes his turn late in the evening. He's playing his horn again... and again, the music is both compelling in the moment you hear it, but forgotten almost the instant later. Your heads are filled with its simultaneous presence and absence, crowding everything else out. It becomes hard to focus on anything but Locke and his horn - though you can still sense people all around you - but too many of them, as if the room as grown even more packed than it was before he started playng.
Spoiler:
The effect is stronger than at the club.
Spoiler:
You realise you're counting under your breath in time to the music.
Neither of you can think to move or speak until it's over. When it is - just as at the club - the patrons do not applaud immediately, but neither do they seem to be disappointed. A trickle of polite applause picks up a moment later.

Smith and Ellington both have slightly dazed expressions on their faces, much as you both do. Most others seem to have gone back to normal.

Locke nods and smiles, before retreating toward a door at the back of the room.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"That was even more powerful than the first time I heard it," Jacqueline says to Ellis."Shall we follow him backstage and see if we can talk to him?"
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Ellis nods. "The music makes me think about the equations" he says.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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It's easy enough to get to the door Locke went through - the performing area isn't a formal stage, just a cleared part of the room. it leads into a similarly appointed room, if a bit smaller. Locke is in there packing his horn into a case. He looks up as you enter. "Hello again. Miss Johnson, wasn't it?"
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"That's right, Mr. Locke," says Jacqueline with a smile. "This is Ellis Lammons."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Ellis nods and holds out his hand to shake.

"It's a special sound you have" he says. "May I ask what inspires you?"
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"Well, as I said to Miss Johnson, everything is an inspiration in its own way. But I make my sound by adapting music that wasn't originally written for the horn. The viol in this case."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"It feels so...otherworldly," says Jacqueline. "It was even more moving here than it was when I first heard it."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"Truly? Well, I have heard your voice, and that is high praise. I'm not certain I have touched half of what this melody can bring forth. What about you, sir? Do you sing or play?"
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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Ellis shakes his head.

"Just an admirer, I'm afraid."
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"I see." He seems slightly surprised by Ellis's answer. "I intend to perform again on Monday, at the Nest - if you are interested, I will see you have an invitation."
Spoiler:
The Nest is one of the clubs you passed when looking for Alexander: "a dance hall, gambling joint, pool place, and speakeasy all in once. It tends to be loud and wanton - JJ has performed there, but the audience likes their performers scantily clad" was what I said about it. It seems a bit of a departure from his previous venues.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"Thank you, I'd like that," says Jacqueline, who much prefers to be in the audience in that place than performing herself.
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Re: Part 2 - The Heart Music

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"I look forward to seeing you there."
Spoiler:
Ellis's Psychology 10; Rolled 1D100 08. Jacqueline's Psychology 55; rolled 1D100 97.
Spoiler:
Maybe it's that Ellis isn't looking with the eyes of a fellow performer, but he has a strong suspicion that Locke is anticipating more than just another performance.
Locke has finished stowing his horn in his bag, and looks set to leave - do you want to let him go, try to get him to stay, or try to tail him? Or something else I haven't thought of?
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