Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - John Scofield

Last week a date took me to Carnegie Hall to see John Scofield. I had never heard of Scofield though listened to a few of his clips on-line and enjoyed them enough to pique my interest to see him live. He's a jazz guitarist with a very unique sound. I can see how you'd hear a few riffs and know instantly that he was playing. 

In hindsight, the date was largely uneventful though the concert has had me thinking about John Scofield ever since. I was a less-than-mediocre saxophone player in grade school and college, and not for lack of trying. I just didn't "get it". I can read music just fine, which is a problem. I approached playing music the same way I approached calculus - in a very academic, formulaic way. I couldn't play with any kind of feeling - I never felt any kind of kinship with my horn. It was some external piece of metal that I got to play notes in a very unemotional way. Writing became my creative outlet, and remains so, though a tiny of part of me has always felt badly about not being able to play an instrument well. 

I do find that despite my lack of talent to play an instrument, I get a tremendous amount of joy going to concerts and hearing musicians play with such soul. I'm green with envy and teary eyed with joy. It's so evident in their facial expressions that they are off in another world when they're playing. It's a world I long to see, though I've had to settle for being the person just outside, peering in through the window. 

John Scofield and his band are so in sync that there's barely any reading of music and changes are spontaneous throughout a piece. All of a sudden someone's taking a solo even though 30 seconds before they didn't know they'd be up. I sit there in awe wondering how on Earth they do that - how do they know which notes to play? It's a mystery to me. 

You would think my natural reaction would be extreme jealousy and confusion. And you're right, but I can transcend those feelings. What's so inspiring to me about watching concerts and listening to jazz is that through the arts there is another world that exists, whole and separate, from our everyday lives. If life on Earth has you down, put on a musician like Scofield and he'll carry you away with him, at least for a little while. I highly recommend track 5, "Behind Closed Doors", on his album This Meets That.    

1 comment:

PodSquadHQ said...

I've been a fan since high school - so jealous!