Friday, October 10, 2008

We’re off now, and in the air from Phila to St Louis (for a weekend of concerts in the Midwest with the Midiri band). Plunged back into my “world” with jazz gigs starting Monday (the day after the show closed). The theatre was quite a different approach to things than is the norm for me. Among the most striking; the idea of the “project” which starts and stops, having a defined beginning and ending. I am made aware, thru this experience, that (improvisational) performances (for me) are a continuum. The playing stops and starts, but nothing opens or closes. Neither are there “stages of development” where things gradually come together, eventually reaching the point of “presentable”. In my “world”, it’s more like a teacher extemporaneously lecturing in a classroom, or a panel discussion on a “talking heads” television show. The preparation for the presentation is the life you have lived up until that point (or, perhaps, the sum total of the experiences related to what you are doing). Some years ago, before Miles (Davis) passed, he was the recipient of some sort of lifetime achievement award. As part of the ceremony, he would be presenting a concert. I happened to see an interview by a young (trying to be “hip”) reporter who asked Miles “How long do you practice for a gig like this?”. I remember bracing myself for what might come out of Miles’ mouth, but his answer was perfect: “30 years”. This past Sunday, during the closing song of the final show, I saw (in my mind), while we were playing, the image of a “finish line” - which we all crossed successfully (and uninjured). Now that the “structure” has been built, furnished, exhibited, closed down, and “sealed up”, I am back to my familiar place - where the door is off the hinges, and the windows are always open.

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