Once again I was invited to hear an old friend play a concert at the university of which he serves as, “Artist in Residence.” I love that title; sounds so cool, so artsy…special. And special he is! He plays an instrument that is big enough to be used as a battering ram, and as uncomfortable as a pair of pants two sizes too small. But he excels at it. He makes beautiful music poor from it’s over-sized neck and strings.
Over the years I have watched him and his friend, another freak…I say that with all affection, and amazement because of what they do; perform some incredible feats of mastery. Duke Ellington, jazz standards, Dizzie, Jaco, the Beatles, even country (?!) you name it and they have a revisionist version that will expand your universe of music appreciation.
Someone asked him about the instrument he played, and why. Why choose that particular one? What was so special about that specific piece of wood that made it work so well? He picked the instrument up and silently placed it directly in front of the microphone…silence…quiet…nothing. Then he said, “This instrument does not make music. The music is inside of us, and if we don’t play it…this beautiful piece of art will remain quiet.”
Think about it.