Four months ago as the vaccines (and a new president) fostered our sense of optimism, I resumed my long-standing gig at the Lilypad in Inman Square Cambridge, playing at 6:30 PM on the first Wednesday of every month.
Many of you have written to say that you are not ready to come indoors to watch live music. Indeed, we are living in a time of uncertainty, each with our own calculus of responsibility, safety, and risk which has resulted in a wide range of choices. This is what we must do; be thoughtful and considerate and decide what seems workable for us and our families and workplaces.
I must say, though, that the experience of playing live shows these past four months has been quite powerful. Just hearing the sound and the music in that congenial room together with 30 or so friends and fans reminds me of why these venues are so crucial to the way the music is transmitted and received.
One thing I experience here each month is how listening to live music together again builds community. The power of deep listening multiplied by the speed-of-light musical intuition of these wonderful players I bring together.
If you are able, I am inviting you to come to hear us live – please mark your calendars for those first Wednesdays each month. Each month I feature different artists. On November 3, I will be playing with the phenomenal violinist and vocalist Eden Macadam-Somer, and a quintet featuring two hand percussionists. You can look here for my schedule, to see whom I’ll be playing with.
Since not everyone can come out in person, I offer this alternative: For many years David Lee, a wonderful musician and guitar builder, has been coming to the Lilypad to record and film our shows. So David and I thought we could edit his video to produce one song from each month’s show to share with you on YouTube. Music this way still has the power to move us. It is just different.
So if you cannot come out to listen there is still the opportunity to hear one song from each performance. Please look me up on my YouTube channel. There you will find these videos from the Lilypad and a few older ones as well.
This weekend I posted my song Renée at Rest from our September show. Our band Tetraptych shines here. The music has an arc and tells a story. I think you will enjoy watching Dor Herskovits (drums) and Max Ridley (bass) driving and floating. Hery Paz, on tenor saxophone, takes us all to another galaxy – and I am really happy with the way the rhythm section holds him with such buoyancy and excitement.
Just sayin’ – It will sound better on headphones or speakers – but is still fine through the computer’s speakers.
And then today I posted the video from October’s gig with Richie Barshay on drums and Max Ridley on bass. They had never met and I wanted to show how jazz musicians like them can discover each other with ease and warmth, energy and daring, playing together without a rehearsal. The video is of Thelonious Monk’s tune “We See.”
I know that this is a long letter and a lot to take in. But I want you to know that this, to me, does not feel like “building my brand.” I am only doing what is necessary to stay in good touch with you all. This is part of the gig, as I am not on any social media.
If you click subscribe on my YouTube channel and then click on the icon that looks like a bell – it will ask you if you want to receive a notification when I put up the new videos. I only do that once a month, so you won’t be flooded with messages. And I only send out these pesky newsletters four times a year.
I remain so grateful that you continue to read and support and choose to be a part of this improvised musical garden that we are cultivating and harvesting together.