After a year where we finished production on and promotion of the documentary film “A Life Well Played,” as well as releasing a new album, “Picture This,” and playing about 100 gigs during 2017 it is time to sit back and figure out what is next.
My first inclination is to prepare a solo acoustic guitar set to be done and either filmed or recorded in recital. This idea is inspired by my recent interest in the historic recordings of classic pianists of the past. My listening to classic recordings by Alfred Cortot, Dinu Lipatti, William Kapell, Alexis Weisenberg, and assorted big names like Horowitz and Rubinstein leads me to the idea of a solo acoustic guitar recital.
Whether this idea is the next brainstorm I act on remains to be seen, but I feel comforted by at least having some semblance of a direction forward.
The idea is to present my strongest compositions in a solo acoustic guitar program before an audience in a special setting. These are the pieces that I carefully chose as those that best define my musical character. The details (the hardest part) need to be sorted out.
The list of compositions to be essayed is the easier part. This is my list as of now and already put in a logical running order.
2) Through Rose Colored Glasses
4) Beatnik Pie
5) Sasha and Dinu
7) Bohemian Flats
8) Tango Blue
12) Sans Souci
13) East Side
14) Silesian Mist
17) Up Town
18) Tempus Fugit
19) Rara Avis
21) Dark Eyes
I have been thinking a lot lately about why some music attracts my interest and other music does not. Then I thought about the music of two of my contemporaries who for reasons that will soon become obvious will remain nameless. Both of these contemporaries are solid technical musicians and prolific composers. They are also both very well known.
Musician One creates very ornate and highly technical music which in many ways is beyond reproach. Yet his music doesn’t reach me and I have repeatedly attempted to like it more. I respect it and it can be pleasant to listen to but it does not connect with me.
Musician Two also is also highly proficient and even more prolific but his music often reaches me on deep level and has on more than one occasion inspired me.
So why this difference I asked myself?
I then sought out interviews both written and on YouTube with these two composer/players.
Here is what became obvious. Musician One was arrogant, quite conceited and, for me, the tell tale sign of self-absorption was when he occasionally referred to himself in the third person.
Musician One also disparaged musicians who were not his equal.
On the other hand, Musician Two had a sweetness of character and was profuse in his praise of others. He had a humor about himself as well. This comes through in his music which is often touching and poignant as well as light and joyful without being the least bit trite. On the contrary.
Obviously this sweetness of character and humility appeal to me. I strive for these same qualities myself but far be it from me to judge myself. That is impossible. I think these qualities I hold in high esteem extends beyond music and to authors, painters, clergy and these days politicians as well. This is a simple enough comparison but I never quite broke it down to the basic elements before. I have learned something here.
I am looking for an earnest humanity in all endeavors.
Here endeth the sermon.