...was pretty nice. I went down to hear my friend R.'s concert in the afternoon and didn't make it back home until 12:30 this morning.
The guy is major-league talented, let me tell you. This was my first opportunity to hear him perform live, and he did not disappoint. Not only does he have the solid musical foundations of theory and technique (especially technique, damn him; I can't do what he does in my dreams, never mind real life) but he has an innate ability to come up with solid arrangements in his own style. He's big-time good at working the room, too.
In my book, he had two strikes against him from the start: he was playing for a bunch of elderly goyim, as unhip a crowd of citizens as you'll ever see. And the instrument was pretty unsatisfactory; I heard and briefly played it a hell of a long time ago, thought it had potential but didn't cut it. After years of work by people who brought more enthusiasm than skill to the party, it still has potential, still doesn't cut it.
Even so, R. pushed beyond the limits of crowd and instrument and was, in a word, sensational.
I mentioned that I had not heard him play in person before. I hadn't even met him until yesterday. We made contact through shared acquaintances and shared interests, and have stayed in touch for quite a while. But he lives in the Midwest, is a responsible guy with a family and a steady gig, and seldom makes it out here.
PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: I admire this. He loves music, loves performing, but is not a slave to it. I suspect if it had a negative effect on wife and children, he'd bag it, get a square job and still be happy. I doubt that'll ever be necessary in his case, though.
After the concert, and after dinner with the people who put the show on, we went off to continue our long-running discussions in a more relaxed atmosphere. If there is anything I dig almost as much as music, it's having a good conversation about it. It wasn't all about our own arcane corner of the music world; we got pretty far afield and only the thought of that hour-long drive (and his early-morning flight out of here) made us wrap it up.
All that was missing to recreate some of my happiest memories from earlier days was a room with a B3 and well-stocked bar, and the company of a few other musicians -- all, sadly, now departed -- to jam and share ideas, gossip about other performers and tell bad jokes. I wouldn't have gotten home yet....
Oh, and the borrowed car did its thing. I made it back home without it puking its little Italian guts on the pavement. But barely; the headlights were distinctly dim, and I was tempted to stop and buy a couple of flashlights to tape on the hood so I could see more than 10 feet ahead.
Being me, I had to go into a bit of a bad mood at some point, and it happened during the drive home. I suddenly became acutely aware of the other, more important missing element in all this fun.
But she has removed herself from my world. In a sense, too bad for her; she would have dug it, would have fit right in.
In a bigger sense, too bad for me.
Anyway, I'm determined to make my way back to R.'s town, hear him play, meet his family, and continue the fun. It reminded me of several reasons I got involved in this whole scene in the first place.
44 minutes ago