Scene: Nate Morgan memorial at New Life Community Christian Center, December 7.


The sky cried for Nate Morgan, turning Lynnwood into a lake. It must have liked the way he played piano. Rushing waters, you know.

The little bare-bones meeting hall couldn't hold all of the 200 or so mourners, most of whom had attended the several Nate appreciations held during the years he was sick. Anyway it was more comfortable to stand outside under an umbrella and tune in, while many Nate associates played a half-hour version of "Mrafu," Morgan's signature Latin-jump number, cycling through a series of beautifully anguished solos -- we don't get to hear Fundi Legohn's flowing bop precision on French horn often enough, or Danny Cortez's fiery trumpet flourishes.

The cast, centering on the long-rooted tradition of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra that Morgan shared, also embraced Jesse Sharps (conducting), Michael Session (sax), Derf Reklaw (percussion), Roberto Miranda (bass), Fritz Wise (drums), Phil Ranelin (trombone), Azar Lawrence (sax), Don Littleton (drums), Trevor Ware (bass), Maia (flute), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (viola), and several more -- it wasn't easy to see the stage through the throngs. Thanks to Fundi, Matt Duersten and Miguel A-F for some of the IDs.

A mood of fond connectedness dominated. The sun broke through and went away again. Later for the rays.