First, a poem.
Inspired by Keith Jarrett playing Gershwin's I Loves You, Porgy
The vision of passion and enthralled attention,
the spiritual devotion and heart-breaking rendition,
newly risen from his mortal and infinite soul,
now present and visible and aurally in our midst.
The vision of his enthralled attention,
his passionate denial of all that is banal and empty of blood,
rends our own broken hearts with a certain bitter sadness at our waste,
whether the waste of our gifts or the waste of our lives.
For he has brought forth his gold,
this treasure of magnificent splendor,
and he is and always will be a part of our lives for this,
whether we witness the moment once or a million times.
It is within me from the first whisper to the last breath of painful joy.
It cries and it sings and it soars and it sobs and it lives in all of us,
this thing he makes real here in the now. It is not of him,
but because he is a strong warrior,
it is here because of him;
his endurance, his courage, his bravery, his love
and his infinite tenderness.
If only once in his life he were to have been so moved,
it would very nearly be enough.
These things we bring back from such journeys are the way
that we live until tomorrow.
Never-ending peace and light will only be ours when
we remember again who we are and why we are here.
While he makes this star-stuff in our presence,
to remind us, we must gaze upon this terribly brilliant wonderment
which this brave being of love and light can now manifest at will.
He calls to us all -
to remember who we are and
why we're here.
JW - Feb 08
I noticed that my new CD for one of the last decent labels, Origin Arts, which was founded by one of the last decent producers, John Bishop, is on amazon already. The cover isn't even done yet. Titled Songs for a New Century, it proclaims quite clearly that it is time for me to say goodbye to the 1900's. I can not write as I used to write, and I can not play as I used to play. My art is taking me elsewhere and making me. I am incapable of taking it elsewhere or making it.
I was the flame, I was the wind, I was the rain. Now I am the willow that must withstand the flame, the wind, and the rain. That is the prime difference between then and now. I was a musician, but now I am a pianist and so must learn about the piano again. I was a writer, but now I must become a poet - for if I am not, I will remain mute.
I am less than what I was, less than what I will be. I am at a place of danger and also of potential. I embrace where I am, and I see my choices spread out before me.
My choice is to sing the song through my piano that I have heard since I was a child. It was muted so fiercely by unthinking adversaries over the years, but I chose to be within it, this jazz. I chose it, it chose me, it doesn't matter. It's part of me always. Now I have to let the child play. I no longer can even imagine doing things like I did them just a year ago. It's THAT radical. The music I hear is so different from what's on my earlier recordings. I can't listen to them. They're mad, they're brilliant, they're coarse. I love them.
I can't listen to them.
Every day I wake up and every day I play my piano. I let the music play me. It's so very different. It happened all by itself. I did not go insane. I simply heard the music in my heart again. Not the stuff in my head, not all the people I learned from, not all the records I listened to and grew up with.
I heard my OWN music, from six decades ago.
That's what I'll be doing. Goodbye, 20th Century. Goodbye, lovers of noise and bass and drums and spang-a-lang. Goodbye, gigs.
Hello, tomorrow. Vast, infinite, variable, promising, exciting, enchanting, challenging tomorrow!