Tag Archives: music

Every tune, perfect to the moment

The mathematic construct of music offers a mathematic perfection, seemingly able to precisely recreate a performance, right down to the inhale and true to the exact expression. Be not so foolish as to believe this.

Disregard recorded music for the moment, reserve it for an advanced discussion.

Live performance cannot be duplicated. Play it once, now play it again. Not only did the first iteration inform the reprise, but now is a different moment – each playing exists in a unique moment.

Consider, then, the judgement of a “bad” performance. Some critics can dis a rendition based on one flat note. Occasionally, a performance will completely fall apart, with one or more players losing their way, playing the wrong changes and the tune falls apart. Allow me, please to defend the worst and redeem the rest.

We are playing the song, in this moment, at this time, for this audience – sometimes only the players are present. We are using our minds to navigate, but we are playing with our fingers and feet, our lungs and throats, our mouths and shakin’ booties. This is the performance of this moment, coming from the understanding and emotion we hold for this song, this band and our own souls. It can be no less than perfect, just the way it is.

It is quite possible we could play it “better” – more mathematically accurate, more natural, more dynamic, whatever. It is equally possible that this performance is the apex, we may never play it better. But you know what?

It’s perfect, just like that. Every tune, every time, right on moment, oh yes.

A Real Story

When I died in May, it was much more traumatic for the people closest to me than it was for me. In concentric circles, my coworkers witnessed the death and took quick and effective action to save my life. Sue Ann, Holly, the Family of Friends and my son were also monitoring the resuscitation, coma and slow return to consciousness.

I have told many that I was completely unaware of what happened until a several days afterward when I woke up in the hospital and Holly was there. Holly should not be here, I immediately thought, she has work and school and the baby to attend to. If Holly was at my side, it must have been something major, and in the succeeding days, I became aware of what it was.

I have recovered completely, and the weeks and months that have passed, listening to the stories, I came to realize – and reconcile – that I had actually died this time (I have had a couple of small heart attacks, but none of them were 911 things, much less fatal). There has been some psychological adjustment, but the final feeling is pretty much, “yippee!” Because I am very happy with my life right now.

At a party shortly after being released from the hospital, a friend’s 11-year-old daughter asked, “well, did you see a light? A bright shining light?”

I told her, no, I hadn’t much memory of anything around that day. And others who have asked similar questions have gotten similar, and totally inadequate answers. So, I’ve gotta tell you the truth right now, listenin’ to the Stones and Who and Yardbirds on a Saturday afternoon. I’m gonna tell you The True Story, and you better believe it.

I was sittin’ there in a meeting, and suddenly, out of the blue, there’s these three singers, slinky little things with big lipsticked mouths. Just as they sang, “Wah-waahhhhhhh” I was swooped up outta the chair and transported through the sky, flyin’ closer and closer to the sun.

Could not have been seventeen seconds later when I was deposited in a funky-smelling studio, lined with egg crate insulation. Buddy Holly, Abdul Rebop, John Lennon,  and Jerry Garcia was all there, tunin’ up. Keith Moon and John Entwistle were off in the corner, bangin’ away at more than 120 decibels.

I landed behind a pristine Hammond B-3 with twin Leslies whirrin’ away. As I looked up, Keith and John stopped and everyone was lookin’ over at me. “‘Bout time, man, we need some pad underneath all these damn guitars,” Keith said.

What are you gonna do? These guys are great, the eternal best. I have hung on every note, every beat I’ve ever heard from these guys.

“Aw, fellas,” I said, “I’m not ready for this. I gotta do some more woodsheddin’.”

Jerry smiled up at me as I felt that floaty thing happenin’ again. “All right, savaj, we’ll be here.”