Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Will Ornette Get to Hang with Bird?

I should have written about Ornette Coleman's passing, but in the blogosphere, that's probably yesterday's news by now. Besides, what can I possibly say about Ornette that a million people haven't said already? I haven't even read the myriad links to NPR articles on him. I saw one that included a pic of the saxophonist with a mischievous smile on his face, and it kind of broke my heart. Talk about leaving an empty space in this world!

Being raised Catholic, but now being Unitarian Universalist - well, at least I attend the latter church - I spend a lot of time contemplating the afterlife, whether it exists and what's there. OK, I'll just say it: Heaven. I think about Heaven. Especially since my dad died last fall. It made me wonder if Pop met up with Charlie Haden and if they got into a deep discussion of the bass. Charlie kind of reminded me a little of Pop, or vice versa. Although Pop was never one to say, "Solid!" on a regular basis. But they seem like two guys who could talk about deeper things.

So now, I couldn't help wondering if Ornette finally got to sit down with Charlie Parker and talk music. What would that be like? It could be a play, maybe. It should be: Bird's down home demeanor meets Ornette's obtuse but deep philosophy.

You can read all you want about musicians but you never really know what they were like. With all the hangers-on and the worshippers and the naysayers, a lot of people cultivated a personality out of the need to survive. Factor in some baser instincts that take over when you really do know better, and maybe you really do care about a person's feelings.... how many layers does that put on top of person's true personality? Will we ever know the real Bird, or the real Ornette? The latter, probably. I'm sure his son Denardo know what he was like.

The other reason I didn't get to all this last week was there was a lot of music going on. TWO LOVE LETTERS SHOWS IN ONE WEEK! We played the Arts Festival last Wednesday, which was a blast. Beautiful weather. An hour-long set. Great sound. Great sound people. Plus my sister got into town less than an hour before it started, and got to see the whole thing, along with my mom, wife and son. Plus various friends filtered in. And a stranger took photos of us and blogged about it. Thanks!

Then we played at Howler's on Friday night. It started out as kind of a slow night, but by the time we started playing, things felt really electric. Buck, who normally looks restrained, was on fire, using chopsticks a la early Sonic Youth, and jumping around the stage. Erin was pounding hard. Mike (Prosser, not me) was exquisite. I think we turned a major corner. Or hit a new plateau. Or something.

It was so much of a blast that, the next day, after working, I didn't have it in me to see Neko Case at the Arts Festival. Or check out my old high school buddy Sean "Spike" Slawson at the 31st Street Pub.