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.
By reynold d. philipsek
I was busy whispering a detailed explanation of Schopenhauer’s Philosophy of the “Will” into the eager ear of a young lady in the backseat of my 56′ Ford when it happened. Believe me, it took quite a jolt to disengage my attention at that exact moment. After all, I was only 18 years old and my red corpuscles were pounding out four to a bar like Gene Krupa in overdrive. But even through the steamed-up windows it was clear to see. I was in love.
“What is that?” I shrieked as I jumped into the front seat and turned up the volume of the car radio. “Who is that guitar player? I love it.”
When the song ended the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) announcer proclaimed it was Jango Rinehart. I searched through the glove box to find a pen or pencil to jot down the name.
The very next day I piloted my Ford 70 miles due south to a section of Minneapolis known as Dinky Town to rummage through the record bins.
An indolent clerk peered up from his intense perusal of a catalog displaying every model and type of hookah known to civilization just long enough to correct me on the name with a condescending sneer. “The name is spelled like this,” he said, as he scrawled Django Reinhardt onto a coffee-stained napkin.
Armed with several Django records, I began my study of his fretwork. The music was a bit old-timey for my taste at that time and songs like “The Sheik of Araby” didn’t exactly turn my crank but the guitar playing was unlike anything I had ever heard.
There are watershed moments in every life and this was one for me. To say Django influenced my music would be complete understatement. I still listen to him daily and play his music every week. All these years later, I can’t even remember the girl’s name.