Tuesday, May 18, 2010

White boy loves the blues...

Ok, in the 21st century - given world music and all the rest - it isn't so unusual for white boys (and girls) to love (and play) the blues. Nor is it all that unusual anymore for people of color to sing the great classical works of Western music or play with other genre bending forms. I guess that's why it gives me a great thrill to know that my brother in San Francisco got us some tickets to Mose Allison. (I'll be hanging with he and his dear wife after Pentecost in their totally excellent condo in the Mission.)

+ Mose Allison, of course, is one of the FIRST white boys to refashion the blues - not in a way that robbed or plagiarized - but rather in a way that gave tribute to the greats and reinterpreted their work. I think musicians like John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Texas white boys like Stevie Ray Vaughn did something similar in their generation. So it will be a treat to see/hear this giant as he moves towards the end of this journey.

+ I hope to pay homage to a few of the great NYC jazz temples this coming year, too, as my daughter and I make pilgrimage to the Village Vanguard, Blue Note and other locales. Not only do I want to return thanks for those hallowed halls that created some of the greatest American sounds, but I want to see what new songs are being played in these old places, too. Earlier this year, while attending an arts and faith conference, I had the chance to stop by a few other important music venues - Cafe Wha? and the Bitter End - but I want to go deeper with the jazz halls.

This past Sunday I had a chance to hang and jam with some local jazz musicians. What a trip! I don't know much about playing jazz so it was a real challenge trying to keep up with these cats. They were really smokin' - and I was a total novice - but... it was still lots of fun to listen and then take a few baby steps out into the jamming groove. I have a LOT more work and practice to do before I try this again - and that's as it should be. How did Bobbie Dylan put it: I will know my song well before I start signing?

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