Sunday, September 9, 2007

paired down

Last night there were no drums, horns, piano, or vocals; but Dave Holland brought his bass and Steve Nelson showed up with his vibes. And part one of Lafayette College's jazz series, which are all duets, began.

Easton, PA is a bit of a drive, but it is familiar territory for this guy from the Lehigh Valley. What we experienced was beauty. Two masters who have known each other for years having fun; playing together.

I thought of collaboration and doubts arose that I would never experience what these two men were experiencing. I thought of my life with Margaret. I thought of how radically different this seemed from the music I heard on the Dave Holland Big Band CD, which I had once checked out of a library. I thought of how these instruments are usually drowned out in larger groups. I began to see it as two solos constantly intermingling. But as important and profound as these thoughts might be, what I wanted to focus on was the music and stopping my ever floating brain became the problem.

On the silent retreat I had wondered how a person could be aware of being with God and being mindful of the present moment. My brain concluded that it was impossible.

In the ten days which I have been home, I have discovered that an internal chant of "I am here" or "Be still," has led me to be able to focus on everything from hugging Margaret, to praying liturgy at church, to listening to jazz duets.

so much for conclusions of my ever so large brain.

special thanks for Justin Oakman who took his camera to a jazz concert and caught the two men alone in one image.


  1. Don't know I already mentioned it or not, Wayne, but my brother was a lover of Jazz. Then, again, he also introduced me to Alyson Kraus and her bluegrass fiddle. Maybe he, like me, just loved the "old" songs, the 40s & 50s, and hearing the instruments themselves......

  2. Jim- I love her music and 12 years ago we saw her play when she ventured to her home in Illinois. which is sweeter, her voice or her fiddle?

  3. Interesting, Wayne -- I have been looking for a mantra to use to bring my mind back to the present -- I might just borrow one of yours.

    And Alison Krauss rules. I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact, though, that she's about to release an album with Robert Plant -- I've heard one song off it, and it sounds like it's going to be good...but it's an odd concept.

  4. Genie-- thanks for stopping by. while searching through a bin of old CD's, I found a collaboration between Ani D and Utah Phillips.


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