Jazz est la nourriture de mon âme...

After spending most of the day resting and reading, we left part of the afternoon roaming Marché Jean-Talon. Opened in Little Italy in 1933, it continues to be a delight of sights, smells and sounds where you can get fresh crepes as well as world class breads and cheeses, fruits or vegetables. What's more, it is an easy place to continue practicing French without the distractions of the Jazz Festival or the roar of city traffic.
After a little more resting, it was off to Bobby McFerrin who is doing a show in tribute to his father's musical influence he calls "Spirityouall." As you might guess, it is a collection of spirituals and gospel songs reworked for his unique gifts. For this tour he is using a killer band that includes his daughter on vocals plus a pianist, drummer/guitarist in addition to two other guitarists who sometimes play violin, electric guitar,pedal steel guitar and/or slide. It is a bold and big sound that can evoke tender French chansons, raw and swampy Delta moans or even some playful bebop (in the middle of the show he tossed off a sweet little version of Monk's "Well You Needn't" giving his band the chance to show off their jazz chops.)
Two or three times during this show I found I was moved to tears - nothing really unusual for me when I encounter such beauty and awe - as tears have become one of my ways to pray. What I was reminded of, however, was how important it is for Di and myself to feed our souls with music, beauty and down time. Last year, for a variety of reasons, this didn't happen nearly as much as is healthy: the end of last summer marked the first anniversary of my sister's death, then our daughter had our first grandchild, we did some special music shows that were fun but demanding, throw in the fullness of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter at church - plus our congregation's 250th anniversary and our local justice organizing and periodic baby sitting in Brooklyn - and there just wasn't time or energy for a lot of self-care.
So as I've observed before, these musical events are a bit like church for me: they put me in touch with my deepest soul food. They also give me the experience of celebrating great artists sharing their gifts with joy and abandon - and that encourages me to do likewise. As a rule I often return to the fold rested and highly energized after our summer retreats into the realm of jazz.
After the concert we sat outside at a cafe sipping red wine and listening to one of Canada's young jazz stars: Emilie-Claire Barlow. She has a big, strong voice - her band had a tight and light groove - and the moon going down over Montreal was magical. Today is Canada Day so who knows what will happen? Whatever it is, I am grateful.


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