Sunday, November 20, 2005

On Friday, I had a (solo) recording session that I feel good about. This is uncharacteristic of my recording history, but likely (I'm being optimistic) the direction I am moving. When I am finding (even if for brief periods) my "zone" (something I have been self-consciously working on for some time), even in the studio, I can't be but pleased. Of course, it could be better, but this is where I'm learning. I'm understanding now that my goal, as a performer, has been the sustained depth - or - to play at a consistent level. Of course, I know (even if I don't accept it) that this isn't me. I've often told people that I feel a certain kinship with Mike Schmidt (home run leader and gold glove third baseman for the Phillies in the 1980's). He could hit multiple home runs one day and then go 0 for 20, or could make a phenomenal fielding play one inning, then in the next field a routine ground ball, but fail to throw out the runner at first because he "threw" the ball behind his back (I saw this happen while at a ball game)! Not that I really feel that I hit (or play) multiple home runs, or make phenomenal fielding plays, but rather that I am prone to inconsistency. I understand some of the reason for it (and I also know that some of what I am aware of, others are less so), but I'd never accepted it. Listening to my session later, at home; hearing me find the depth, have a "brain fart", and then attempt a recovery, I finally got it : This is me, and it's okay (as a concept). I can continue to improve, and lessen the occurrence - which is happening - of the "perpetual fog" (my Friend Alan Dale calls it "being constipated"), which is a problem. When I am "fog-free", however, and still have that little spot or two in a tune where my attention span breaks, or I am playing disjointed (even if only I am aware of it),
I can stop being ashamed of myself; trying to create an ideal rather than accept what is. Dick Durham (local jazz pianist who has become a friend) uses a quote in his publicity written of him in the Phila. Inquirer in 1965(!): "Dick Durham creates a jazz that is". Now I understand: more than anything, my goal is to be authentic - something that is.


Anonymous Chris Webb said...

Authenticity typically involves errors, or mistakes, or whatever word you want to throw in there-you pick it. Think about authentic food-like awesome New York pizza and then compare it to lesser pizzas found all over the world. Like paper thin pizza in Missouri.
Or how about begnets at Café Dumond in New Orleans-they say that they taste the way they do because of the water there. Yikes!
Or a Philly cheese steak on an incredible Philly role. Say what you want but I believe that the roll makes the steak sandwich. I've seen TV interviews with the guys who make those rolls and they attribute their taste to the Philly water. THE PHILLY WATER! Are they serious?! I can smell the Philly water every time I enter the city!
But sometimes miraculous and awe inspiring things come from “non-perfect” ingredients. The same is true with us-musicians. Highly critical, self loathing, always reaching / never attaining musicians.
Is there joy in the journey? Do we really want to get there? Is it really possible to get there? Joy in the journey.
I am an uncategorized listener-one who crosses lines –sometimes I’m stuck in my own skinny white boy style-but in my most familiar listening group there are many amazing musical expressions that I was surprised to hear were mistakes. I never knew they were mistakes and was a little angry when I found this out because I had spent years trying to learn someone’s mistake! What a rip-off!
See, there is the inside and the outside of a recording. If you’re on the inside you see all the mess, the mistakes, the sweat, the unattained goals, the late night sessions that sucked, the out of tune instrument, the angry bass player. But, something amazing happens when the recording is released. Vision turns to hearing-the slate is erased and the listener starts fresh. The outside guy has no idea that the bass player was angry. The listener now creates a new world-one from their own mind-and fills in the blanks-the blanks that we know as full pictures. But not for the new listener. The detail we see on the inside is now gone. And the listener paints a new picture with our colors.
I’ve listened to Joe play and at first I didn’t hear the man behind the fingers-I only heard the genius. But slowly, over time, I started hearing the man. And I like the man better. For so many reasons. Now, I’m a nobody, so this may not mean much, but giants live nearby-and one is named Joe Holt.
I don’t know crap about baseball. My only knowledge is Luzinski, Bowa, Schmidt, Rose, Maddox, Carlton-yup 1975 at its best. 8 year old Chris and his baseball cards. And from what little I know about baseball I know this-to me, Mike Schmidt is a baseball god-regardless of what he did from day to day his status is baseball god and always will be baseball god. It’s the career that made him, not a single moment in time. We are lucky that way.

Thursday, November 24, 2005  
Blogger Joe Holt said...

to Chris:

As always, I appreciate your encouragement. You encourage me not only in what you say, but in how you've grown. If I'm to want somthing for someone I know and interact with (note: Chris has been my friend over the last six or seven years. We have worked closely together, at times, in what, to some, would seem an unlikely pairing. Among other things, Chris engineered and co-produced (with me) my "He's Steppin' Out" CD), it is for growth: an increasing awareness of what's "out there" and where we stand in relation to that. Chris, your awareness continues to expand, if I am qualified to say this. I'm proud of you.

Thursday, November 24, 2005  
Anonymous Chris Webb said...

That's what I was after!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005  

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