Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jouir de la Musique

Hearing the keyboard player hitting blue chords with his right hand, hammering with his thumb and pinky. Left hand walks. Or Chick flowing on the keys like a cool stream in the desert.

The words, flowing from the likes of Chris Martin and Jack Johnson, from Sting, from Paul Simon and Jackson Browne, from Dylan.

How do we account for Bob Dylan or the soul in the deep rumble of Johnny Cash or the gliss and light of Stevie Wonder or the genius of Ray Charles? Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday are unexplainable. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and Thelonious Monk, stepping from one to the other around brilliant corners.

From Stanley Jordan to Geddy Lee to John Patitucci, almost underground, laying tracks for the trains to ride. Stevie Ray Vaughn eating his strings, pulling life out of them. Hendrix and Clapton and B.B. King, Van Halen, and Johnny Lang and Satriani, their picks and fingers like butterfly wings grazing the strings, ringing. Elvis Costello, singing his vibrato, shaping his phrasing, aiming true, or the Elvis Brothers stomping the downbeat all over the stage, trying to touch a piece of what made that boy from Memphis sing like he did.

Pat Boone did his best, but, you know: “hold it fellas, that don’t move me,” like Elvis Presley looking to get real real gone for a change.

Lock into the pocket of Weckyl and Kunkel and Colaiuta. Pop.

Hey. Hey. Hey. I may know what’s happening here. If not knowledge, then feel. I feel it...

I feel the band, playing behind me, falling right on the beat, rock solid, right in line, giving me a notion that the world has some sense to it. Oh, the big E chord ringing out, shouting at the world.

I feel the right phonemes, piecing together the right words in the right sentences, with the phrasing exactly as it somehow should be. I feel the contrary motion, the harmonic lines, making peace with the melody in a weary world. The feel of guitar strings under my fingers, resisting enough to sing. The back beat strikes and pulls back, strikes again, through my heart.

There’s something about the first chord of a song. Finding it. Playing it. Using it to get to the next chord and the first word that leads to the rest until an idea is formed, certain syllables rolling off the tongue, attached to other, just right, certain syllables, shaped into words and phrases, resting on patterns and changes that carry not just ideas, but emotion.

It's like puzzle pieces, falling into place.
It's like tasting destiny.
It's like knowing the answer to an obscure and cryptic question.
It's like being just where you should be. When you should be. And knowing it.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2010

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