If you’ve ever walked all over Old Metropolis, chances are you have encountered David Puryear livening up the corner of 4th and Market streets with his saxophone and snazzy outfits.
Typically dressed up in a whole accommodate, Puryear has been carrying out on that corner for about eight a long time.
“I identified my house in this article at 4th and Industry,” mentioned the musician, just after participating in in several other places throughout Philadelphia. “I just want to carry appreciate to the metropolis.”
The retired 73-calendar year-aged has been playing the saxophone due to the fact his large college days, rising up in New Jersey. Tunes has normally called to Puryear, which is why now, in retirement, he spends his days accomplishing what he enjoys — actively playing his saxophone — Overlook Awful.
“I connect with this Overlook Nasty simply because I be trying to make her audio serious nasty, you know?” he said laughing.
For Puryear, who performs as Etta’s Little one Boy — a title that honors his mom — how he presents himself is critical.
“You got persons coming from all around the country and all more than the entire world,” states Puryear. “As a Black man or woman, a Black male, you obtained to search fantastic and obtained to audio fantastic.”
Puryear is trendy and normally mixing up his outfits — one particular day he’ll dress in a additional vintage plaid match, the other, he’ll don a vibrant yellow vest with a matching cap and blue suede footwear — an homage to the Elvis music.
But Puryear was not normally investing his times actively playing.
He served in the Air Drive in the course of the Vietnam war as a radar operator, and following staying honorably discharged, turned genuinely interested in the blossoming jazz scene at the time — Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie.
He attended Montclair Condition College and researched small business administration, but he was much more intrigued in audio than the classroom. In his spare time, he would go to exhibits in Newark and at the Apollo in Harlem. When he graduated, he got married and started off a household, becoming a dad to two sons.
After many years of operating in insurance and then as a bricklayer, among the other work opportunities in New Jersey, he ended up in Philadelphia. He’s been in the city now for about 15 decades.
Puryear now lives in Francisville, but has bonded with the corner of 4th and Market — the individuals who dwell and perform close by, the travelers.
“It’s been a love fest out below for the previous five a long time,” said Puryear, who took a quick hiatus in the course of the top of the pandemic. Coming again to the corner and connecting with the passersby he has not viewed in a extended time has been especially special.
The Previous Town local community will wander by and look at in on him and he’s normally glad to see them. In excess of the decades, people have been very supportive in all types of methods: presenting a heat thank you, bringing him a bottle of h2o on a scorching working day, hiring him to participate in at weddings, and even acquiring his 7-12 months-outdated son, Abdul, into summer camp.
As a one father, these steps mean a whole lot to Puryear.
“The men and women of Old Town have taken care of me and Abdul … they’ve been a lifeline,” he suggests. “I deliver joy to the corner and then they give it back.”
That’s what evokes him most are the persons and the hustle and bustle of the community. He plays whatever comes to him at the moment, as he functions to garner the consideration of persons who are passing by for just a couple of seconds.
“It’s about creativity for me,” he reported. “I’m striving to convey you something that you haven’t read.” This implies everything is first — no special requests or versions of preferred tunes.
Tunes is what Puryear does every working day, but it is also what he turns to when he’s hoping to figure out what is taking place in the earth, like when George Floyd was murdered. He and his son went to the protests at the Artwork Museum back in 2020.
“If I see a little something on the information or a thing that has an effect on me, then I occur out below … with that stress,” he claimed, and as an alternative of conversing, he performs to method. Puryear remembers Coltrane’s music, Alabama, about the bombing in a Birmingham church that killed four youthful ladies. He requires to tunes in a equivalent way.
“It’s all about love, we have sufficient evil and a ton of loathe likely on,” claimed the legendary Old Town saxophonist. “The only matter that can conquer that and adjust that is enjoy.”
Etta’s Baby Boy performs on 4th and Current market streets most afternoons.