Friday, November 11, 2011

All blues and healing on a winter morning...

It was a bluesy set last night at Patrick's Pub in Pittsfield - one that got more and more creative - and wild, too.  I was still feeling a bit wiped-out from a dreadful head cold but playing great music with wonderful musicians - who are also generous and compassionate people - brought a whole lotta healing. It felt great.

Our regular sax man had a conflict so a veteran trombone cat sat in with us - and he was smokin!  He played a regular jazz gig on Lake George for over 20 years (in addition to teaching music, too) and he still has his chops. Now, truth be told, while we regularly use the charts and lead sheets from the "Real Book" - especially me - we also take off on improvisations at the drop of the hat.  So, it was a magic carpet ride for Woody who nailed everything thrown his way.  After the first break he said in his sweet and understated way, "I don't really know what I'm doing, but  I'm having a ball.  And it sure beats having to play Dixieland for 3 hours!"
A few highlights early on included "Fly Me to the Moon," "Georgia on My Mind" and "Stormy Monday."  Then things really started to heat up - and by the third set a host of other local artists were sitting in, too.  Carlton and Rob came on board for an extended and energetic take on Miles' "All Blues" - Rebecca Leigh (an incredibly talented R and B soulster) gave us her take on the Etta James classic "At Last" (and she'll be at our Thanksgiving Eve show, too) - and there was a cookin' horn duet on "Bye, Bye Blackbird."  Add Dianne's "C'est Magnifique" and "Blue Skies" and a little Tito Puente "Oye Como Va" and we just didn't want to stop. In fact, we played almost an hour longer than usual.

What was additionally sweet is that both of my daughters were able to get into town for this show:  what a treat for the old man to share this gig with them - I love them so!

And now as I sit in my study looking out itn the wetland while everyone else in the house still resting up, I see the snow is starting again (very lightly) and it looks like winter has finally arrived. Beautiful browns, greys, yellow-orange and gold fill the fields with an ocasional teaser of red, too.  And the wind magically swirls the leaves as they dance 
like partners with the snow. In the quiet, I revel in the beauty of this day and the healing of last night's bluesy improvisation... and think of a poem...

Although it is not yet evening,
the secretaries have changed their frocks
as if it were time for dancing,
and locked up in the scholars' books
there is a kind of rejoicing,
there is a kind of singing
that even the dark stone canyon makes
as though all fountains were going
at once, and the color flowed from bricks
in one wild, lit upsurging.

What is the weather doing?
And who arrived on a scallop shell
with the smell of the sea this morning?
Creating a small upheaval
high above the scaffolding
by saying, "All will be well.
There is a kind of rejoicing."
Is there a kind of rejoicing
in saying, "All will be well?"
High above the scaffolding,
creating a small upheaval,
the smell of the sea this morning
arrived on a scallop shell.
What was the weather doing
in one wild, lit upsurging?

At once, the color flowed from the bricks
As though all fountains were going,
and even the dark stone canyon makes
Here a kind of singing,
and there a kind of rejoicing,
and locked up in the scholars' books
there is a time for dancing
when the secretaries have changed their frocks,
and though it is not yet evening,

There is the persistence of song.
(Howard Moss, The Persistence of Song)



Philomena Ewing said...

Beautiful Howard Moss poem- this is a new one and a treat for me.
Great that you could male the set and all power to you for doing it despite being under the weather.

RJ said...

Thanks so much, Philomena. Glad the poem resonates, too. Many blessings.

Black Pete said...


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