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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
THIS IS NOT A PIPE
"Ceci n'est pas une pipe" was a painting by the surrealist Magritte. The painting was of a pipe, and the words were underneath it.
So last night at grocery store I bumped into one of my favourite people. I really love this dude, he's this crazy sax player that just drifts around the country, following the Grateful Dead sometimes, or just wherever he has gas to drive to.
Anyhow, after I saw him, for some reason it really struck me how, in this modern world, and especially this country, music has become something recorded that we listen to over and over again, but the experience of being a musician is completely temporal. A musician is only a musician when s/he is performing (or composing, etc).
I think that is why it is so bothersome to music lovers with the whole packaged star like Brittany Spears or someone. Yes, these people are musicians, but they are so aimed at the consumer, they are about the music as recorded. As a product to be consumed.
Someone like my sax player friend does not even think in words. He does not perform for fame or a record contract. He plays where he is, in whatever circumstance, because that is who he is. That is how he communicates his soul to the world. And the world is lucky to have someone willing to have that conversation with it, and to bring beautiful sounds into it.
Music might actually be the only real and true, unfailing religion in my
life, despite my current spiritual proclivities. Music is ephemeral, and must
be constantly re-created, and will always be different, because it is
created out of each moment, and every moment is different, no matter how
much effort is made to re-create exactly as before.
A piece of music only exists when it is being performed. A recording of it is a recording. Sheet music is a piece of paper with symbols on it.
Music is completely intertwined and inseparable from the performance.
And therefore, the performer.
And the moment of the performance-- the place, the people, the landscape...
I believe that music is one of the most important things you can do with your time. Whether listening to it or creating it.
I also believe that music will
seek a listener, in the same way a bee seeks a flower. I also believe
that I am a Listener that Music wants to hear It. I try to always look
for other people that are like me, musician or non-musician alike. I
love a world filled with music.
Tony left town, I think he's headed south. If you see a crazy sax player with tribal tats on his face, give him some of your time, and your most reverent listening. (And some money would be good too!)
It will be worth it. The music he is making will include a little bit of you, in that moment, wherever you are.