Travis Wheaton took his saxophone and left his home in High Point one night in search of life’s meaning. On the Way to Birdland, by High Point author Frank Morelli, is an introspective story from the perspective of Travis’s brother, Cordell “Cordy” Wheaton, a teenage philosopher living in the town where the brothers’ idol, jazz legend John Coltrane, grew up. Cordy searches for his brother in an attempt to bring him home to make peace with their ailing father.
Certain that Travis is following in the footsteps of Coltrane, who once left the town for New York City, Cordy sets out to find his brother at Birdland Jazz Club. Fueled by a fantasy vision of forgiveness and love, Cordy finds inspiration in Coltrane’s life as he himself overcomes adversity along the way.
Cordy’s story weaves through a fantastical journey filled with chaos and lucky interactions. One savior, a music-loving truck driver named Cowbird, gives Cordy a lift after he’s forced to jump from the freight train that he’s hopped. Driven by a love for family and adventure but weighed down by uncertainty and loneliness, the boy is at times the lead journeyman and at others the victim. He’s unable to escape his nightmares, which are eventually revealed to be something much more compelling than his waking moments.
Cordy’s search for his brother transforms into a quest for meaning in a world of shifting realities. Throughout the journey, Morelli transports readers to places that are familiar yet new, and shows us that, despite the evil surrounding us, angels are in our midst.