Real Jazz at The Real School
What were their main influences? "Bud! replied one young man, no doubt in reference to Bud Powell, the pioneering bebop pianist. "Herb! called out another, clearly referring to guitarist great Herb Ellis. "Mary J! hollered a third, while holding up a lighter in one hand and a long cylindrical object in the other. I nodded in approval. Mary J. Blige, although technically not jazz, is certainly one soulful singer. These kids had done their homework.
Next I asked the students what skills, apart from music, they had to fall back on after graduation. An awkward pause preceded hysterical laughter, then I noticed Clams pointing to the futon rolled up in the corner.
Before we said our goodbyes, I asked F-hole to compare his Real School experience with the experience someone might typically receive at a big name music college like Berklee.
"At Berklee, sure, you're probably going to develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance and be able to define quality using technical and interpretive musical criteria, he replied, pausing to gnaw on a Slim Jim, "and, yeah, you'll probably develop a sufficient theoretical, conceptual and philosophical background in the area of musical performance to cope with and adjust to a lifetime of will-crushing debt.
"Wow. Can you get all at The Real School? I wondered.
"All that, minus the will-crushing debt, said F-hole, smiling.
"How much is tuition?
"A bag of groceries from Trader Joe's.