In the hands of a really skilled musician, one who has long ago mastered the art of playing his or her instrument, music just happens. In the case of someone who is emotionally open and sensitive to music in a way that cannot be captured in words, what emerges from such an individual is simply thrilling to hear. Again and again, living here in New York City, as I do, I am struck by the wealth of talent there is in all fields of music, no matter which style you want to hear.
The level of players here is so high that we get used to this as a standard. We forget that this kind of playing doesn’t happen in a lot of places. We forget that not everyone has a chance to go out for a night of live music to hear the best in the world down a few blocks from home. We forget how special such experiences are and how memorable.
I’ve had so many opportunities in my life to hear great artists of all kinds. There really isn’t any substitute for this (as I say here quite often). No recording, no DVD, no film, is ever going to capture the real deal, live, in the artistry of a master player. If you do not have these experiences carved into your mind then you don’t have a library of memories to draw upon, and if you are in the profession yourself, that is a real detriment to your own resources. Of course, I realize that not everyone can live here, and not everyone can even get to a big city on a regular basis, but if you are in the profession in any way, you absolutely must MUST go to the nearest big city with enough money to stay there for a few days every year and attend as many different kinds of concerts as you can afford.
This evening we attended a performance at Lincoln Center of a jazz quartet. The quartet was Eli Yamin’s and we were at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. The two women and two men were just fabulous and there were several times when the packed house literally went crazy because of the intensity of the performances. In this case there were no vocalists but the instruments were singing through their players and it was impossible not to get caught up in the depth of feeling the artists had for the music and for each other. It was impossible not to be moved, maybe even to tears as I was, by what I was happening.
I wish I had a magic wand and could take everyone out there who can’t get to performances like these with me. I wish I could share with you the satisfaction I get sitting in the audience, listening in rapture, while this glorious music swirls around me. I wish I could somehow carry these moments to the whole world because I seriously doubt there would be time for war if people could just sit down and listen to music of this calibre.
Since I can’t do this, I say to you, do it for yourself. Every minute will be worth so much more than the actual time you are in the audience and every dime you spend will be paid back in dividends that cannot be measured in money at all, but are richer by far than whatever you spend. The music is the message and the message is the music.