We shared a mic. I hung back a little, I did not want her to have to strain. If so, I would be blamed later, like in the old days.
The peace of voice and horn broken hours later by backstage accusations as I try to swallow my drink. Let her concentrate on creating that intricate mix, that night, which includes things which we all have lost, all have chased. Her voice. Find it all there within a laconic melody which slowly floats away on wisps of smoke.
Had I been called on stage as a way of saying "all is forgiven , or was it supposed to be a final "this is shy ? A final flash in a scene from someone's life? She tilted her head, I could faintly smell the gardenia in her hair. Her eyes were shut, so I could not truly read the moment.
Softly, softly, softly. Float away. For this brief moment, we were both everywhere the song had ever been played. Bones stopped aching, bills were all paid, we wavered like an image seen through smoke, for a moment we exist as only an emotion called night.
Tilting my head towards her, I softly press the keys. Softly. It is an action so soft, so subtle a sound, not easy to produce, the sounds found in a secret kiss, a flower unfurling in the sun. Then too, the savage joy which can be found in true heartache.
It ends. Applause, the lie you always willingly accept. It had been good, true. Words would only ruin it, only bring back things now no longer matter. We kiss, someone hands me my horn and I slide out back. Often, still, the most beautiful words spoken can be "good-bye .
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.