Friday, October 29, 2010

The Rick Rosato Quintet

Rick Rosato

Last week I saw the Rick Rosato Quintet perform here in Montreal at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill.  Find the review I wrote here.  Please check it out.  It was a delight to see. 

After the show, I interviewed pianist Aaron Parks (who played in the group) in the musicians' room upstairs of Upstairs.  We talked about his projects, his compositions, his influences, New York, Gretchen Parlato, many things.  The interview will be posted soon on Nextbop

But it was sort of interrupted when Peter Schlamb, the vibraphonist in the group, walked in on us.  It didn't matter, though.  Eventually, everyone in the quintet had entered the room to hang out for the maybe excessively long hour and a half break between sets. 

Almost immediately my role was reversed.  Now they were interviewing me, asking me where I'm from, what I study, what I was doing in the room.  We talked for about twenty minutes or so and then I left, wishing them all good luck. 

It's documented.  The digital recorder was still running, and I have been enjoying listening to it, even if it embarrasses me a bit.  Why do I laugh so nervously?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Fighting to Sleep

I’ve wondered about
Charlie Parker’s dreams—
if they frightened him,
if he spoke of them,
if he remembered them.
I’ve wondered if
he looked forward
to sleep.
I do,
but maybe not falling asleep.
Sometimes you go
so hard, sleep
just takes you.
Sometimes that’s
an evasion.
It’s brave
to try to fall asleep,
to get into bed,
close your eyes,
slow your mind
and confront the tyranny
of guilt,
of embarrassment,
of what happened.


This is the second poem in a series of unrelated poems I hope to be writing and posting throughout the next few weeks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jazz Poetry

For the last two months, I have been reading poetry in my free time.  I used to run from it.  But I've realized that good poetry can be very beautiful and refreshing, even if you think you don't understand it.  Throughout the next month or so, I'll try to write one poem a week for this blog.  There is, I believe, a genre called 'jazz poetry,' although it doesn't always have to do with jazz, but the sort of free structures and rhythms often associated with the music.  The poem below is about jazz, but not an example of 'jazz poetry.'  I have no idea what I'm doing, by the way, but I hope you like it.


I Love Jazz

I love jazz because
it makes me feel
so damn cool.

Sometimes I wonder
if I'd have any confidence
without it.

but I'm glad
I'll never know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Chris Potter Quartet

On Friday, October 8, I saw the Chris Potter Quartet at the venue l'Astral in Montreal.  Once again, I went as a Nextbop writer.  Find the link below to the review I wrote:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Portico Quartet

Last weekend I saw the Portico Quartet play at l'Astral here in Montreal.  I went as a Nextbop writer, not for my blog.  But in the end, I figure my blog has to play some part in this event.  So here's the link to the review I wrote.  Check it out if you'd like:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finding Meaning

You might notice that I don't mention jazz in this entry.  But in a way, it's related to jazz, especially jazz artists.  I hope you see how.

Writing blog entries isn't hard for me.  I choose to write them.  That's not to say writing is easy for me.  I'm a slow writer, a finicky writer.  But when I sit down and start a new post, I am basically searching for meaning.  That's why I primarily write personal essays--because I think I can scrape out some meaning by examining myself.  I don't know if I'm successful, but I do feel better after I write.  It's like therapy.  Therapy's not easy--there's crying, confession, concealment--but it's worth it.

Yesterday I wrote an essay for a class I'm taking in radical political thought.  I didn't want to write the essay, but I had to.  I thought it would be easy to write it because I had been writing frequently for my blog, for the school newspaper, for myself.  But when I sat down to write, I faltered.  It seemed so deliberate.

Of course my problem was not uncommon.  Another case of someone who didn't want to do his homework.  Eventually, I got what I considered a good idea and started writing.  I never really got into it, but I finished.  And it wasn't until tonight that I realized my problem:  I thought writing would be easy--that I wouldn't have to think as hard because I had been thinking more than usual about writing.  I was wrong.

Writing gets easier when you come to terms with the fact that you have to sit down and think and start over and be frustrated and think some more and start over again.  You might get lucky with a good idea here and there, but really you can't outsmart hard work.  This doesn't only apply to writing.

If you've read some of my blog posts, you might have noticed how much I admire hard work.  Who doesn't, right?  But I'm also puzzled by it.  Work can be so sacrosanct.  There are so many secrets involved.  Few want to admit how long they've worked on something.  But meaning takes a while to concoct.  If you spent an hour writing a sentence, it might be that you're slow, or too careful, or bored.  But it also might be that you value meaning.

I think I'm a hopeful person.  That's probably why I thought writing would become easier.  Not that it hasn't in some ways.  But it still takes me a long time to express a thought, a thought that never seems to fully show itself.  I don't think it'll become easier to find those thoughts.  But for me, it's meaningful just to look for them.