Monday, December 6, 2010

The John Escreet Project

John Escreet

This happened a while ago, but the review I wrote was just posted on Nextbop, so what can you do?  I saw the John Escreet Project on the night of Saturday, November 27 at Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal.  I had to sit at the end of the bar, with a limited view of the stage, but that's just something you have to deal with.  I still enjoyed the show because everyone in the club seemed into it.

I've always wanted to walk into a jazz club and have the owner know my name.  Now it's a reality.  Of course there's an exchange going on.  I write a review of the show to watch the show for free.  And that's fair in my mind.  I'm only a student.  I don't expect to get paid, though it would be nice if I did.

I often feel a bit awkward when I'm sitting in a club, taking notes, thinking about what I'll write about later.  I'm hoping that doesn't limit the emotional experience of seeing live music.  I have to write things down to remember them--like song titles, descriptive words, quotes--but when I sit down to write a review, I tend to remember a lot more than I thought I would.  You have to rely on your notes, but more importantly, on an afterimage of the performance that sits in your mind. 

Of course I fear being wrong.  But that's also just something you have to deal with.  You can only try not to be wrong.  It's fun for me, though--like slowly taking a risk.  I'm only twenty-two.  I could be wrong a lot, but I try to stay within my means.  I only know so much, but I can only know more as I gain experience.

I'm not completely comfortable being a critic.  Not that I am one, but when I write these reviews, I have to be one.  I don't really like uncritical writing about jazz, though.  I don't like seeing praise where no praise is due.  It makes for empty writing.   

So I try to maintain my critical insight without abandoning everything else--warmth, humor, anger.  I try seriously to not take myself too seriously.  That's what keeps me going when I walk into Upstairs Jazz Club and Joel, the owner, walks me to my seat.  That's what keeps me going when I open my notebook before a show, uncap my pen, and get ready to learn.

1 comment:

  1. This is what I think cold jazz should be: confessional thoughts about professional writing