Friday, November 13, 2009

Back in the Groove

In the middle of the journey of life
I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight path was lost.

Absolutely right.

As stated previously, I kinda quit the whole playing scene for a while in the mid 90's and even gave up the guitar. I felt like I had burned out on both personal and professional levels.

I made a deliberate choice these past two years to get the hell off the couch and play. So far, it has felt really good. In fact, it is the thing that brings me the most joy these days. I feel like a kid with a new toy.

I am convinced that people come into our lives to teach us something. The purpose may not at first be clear, but then the penny drops. After several gigs with Ryan at the Bistro, some things have become very clear. He has been a significant part of reviving my musical life. He would roll his eyes to even imagine I would say that, but for me, it is true.

One thing is oh so clear: the kid is a phenom on the guitar. He plays things that are beyond my comprehension both from a technical point and a musical one. On Tuesday at rehearsal, he launched into a solo version of All the Things You Are that had my head scrambling. That doesn't happen very often to me, kids. Me, at 51, with 38 years experience and this 28 year old guy making me see cross-eyed.

Let's just say it: lesser musicians would have run and made excuses not to play with someone so obviously gifted. But, then there is no "becoming," as Joseph Campbell would have put it, no opportunity to learn and stay sharp. The ego would be placed above the love of the guitar and that can not be so.

But there is a common ground between us that bridges the disparity in jazz ability. We have classical, King Crimson/Robert Fripp, experimental and improvisation that creates this bridge. I truly feel a musical connection with my fellow guitarist and when we play together, that what we have to offer is greater than the sum of its parts.

It would be an easy gig to sleep through-three hours of "background" music for the post-work cocktail and light dinner crowd. Despite the noise of a crowded restaurant in the middle of the week, we try to make the music happen. We give it everything we have without a break for nearly three hours.

Other arisings have me excited. Solo gigs, and now a quartet is being discussed. In fact, we have our first rehearsal tonight. That will prove to be interesting. It's good to be back in the scene, babe.

Before the gig, Ryan said, "How do you feel?"
"Like a mean motherfucker, Sir."
He smiled. He knows his Apocalypse Now.
He knows I'm really to bare my teeth and sink them deep into the music.
Back in the groove.

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