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On: Jazz Music


Dear Scotland,

I have wanderlust, and you have perpetuated my sickness.

It was one those nights, the onset felt something more like catching a flu; just achy, heavy and happening regardless of my opinion.  I somewhere between waking up that morning and post-performance that evening, I had lost my ‘joie de vivre’ but nonetheless, I had committed to going and so that’s exactly what I did.  As I stepped one foot out the stage door, I left my funk right there on a sad, damp step. My night was underway no time for agendas. So I stepped on a wave and rode it until late or early depending on how you look at it.

6-hours prior to the onset of that night, I was choosing something dramatic to wear. My tone that morning was much more enthusiastic; I was looking forward to a night out in a truly historic city. How exciting … good food, interesting people, and all the while looking and feeling quite fancy.

Fortunately, it only took me about three bites of gorgeous risotto to feel a glimmer of that original enthusiasm. We had wine, a carafe a piece. We had Italian food; we tried each other’s dishes and laughed. I was tired and sore but being consumed by all the things that were taking over my senses; all the things that made the ick fade away.

Before long we wound up at a jazz bar. It was humid as we descended a set of truly narrow stairs into the basement lounge space. The memory of this part of the night is something I can’t shake—in a good way. The music cutting the fog-like air; the atmosphere was thick enough to choke on. Each inhale was coupled with the smell heat and old beer.  And all of this is a file in my mind that has no gaps - a movie - and I can watch it as many times as I’d like. It’s just stuck there in the front lobe of my brain.

There was this five piece band… two guitars, a trumpet, drums, and a sax.  They had impeccable chemistry, this ├╝ber geeky appeal and messy hair. They had a liberal vibe; wearing T-shirts that only smart guys who understand irony would buy. Those shirts were my first source of amusement ... things like the square root of a skull and where's Biggy.  It was those five guys that had me with agenda for the first time since the evening had begun. I wanted to watch every set they were going to play, that’s exactly where I wanted to be. They were daytime nerds with a nighttime secret -- entertainers. Every cell of me understood why they wanted to be up their doing their thing.

The lounge had this strange set up with multi-level parquet flooring. At least three of the walls were covered in different textures; there was rope lighting and an insignificant, asymmetrical dance floor space. The tables and chairs and seating didn’t match; best of all, there were ‘hipsters’ everywhere, and not the wannabe kind that the T-shirts and hashtags make fun of, but it was as if the actual inventors of the hipster movement where underground with me that night.  I was staring into a sea or a cult of similar-minded 30ish people, and they were my kind of people.


Back to those 5 guys, and that chemistry; OOooooooh that harmony. I am a performer and when you click with the people with whom you share the stage, (as in you truly respect them and they you), there is a distinct chemistry the audience can feel. It’s magical. I’ve painted entertainment with people who don’t know the art of connection and it’s fake-- entertaining -- but not quite right. When the lights snap on, if you can transcend yourself and all your normal life woes and become what you are selling;  if you can breathe that dream and tell the story, it’s just arresting to feel so close to complete strangers. It feels like they know you and they know how to massage your imagination and you theirs.

Those musicians had connection and commitment to each other. They probably had ups and downs like any other ‘family’ but they surpassed it and were walking on a higher level. I enjoyed their music, wit and even their weird Scandinavian dance track tributes.... but most of all I enjoyed their chemistry!! What a beautiful thing to witness. They too get to transport away from the world's pain and they too get to make something original and unrepeatable.

I kept thinking on repeat, what a beautiful thing to witness.

"On stage I make love to twenty-five-thousand people and then I go home alone."          
                       -Janis Joplin

I guess I'm in the process of digesting another bit of what I truly believe. Authenticity is so important, and maybe even an art form. You must be who you are-- and own that. 

You must love who you are with all of the bumps and flaws; and with pain as a teacher you must become as likeable as you deserve to be, it up to you! You must push for and cherish your potential at the same time.


 






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Goodbye to the circus xx