I had intended to continue writing about the incredible adventure that was Jesus Christ Superstar. Instead, I have decided to put that on hold to talk about something else. We just got in from hearing a band. Nothing remarkable in that. But it was the fourth band we heard in the past thirty hours. And all four of them were incredible in their own ways. We didn’t plan in advance to hear any of these bands. It was one spontaneous decision leading to another, hanging out with some good friends (who are also musicians). Some of the musicians we heard were new to this city and to this country for that matter. A fabulous young Brazilian pianist, recently arrived for example, eager to make his mark, playing in an incredible Brazilian jazz band. Some of the musicians we heard were friends and colleagues, many years into well established careers, playing with absolutely nothing to prove. But what they all had in common was that they were all doing it for the love of playing music with other like minded souls. No one was getting paid much money on these two particular nights, cover charges were tiny or nil, but that seemed beyond the point. There are certainly better paying gigs for most of these players in any given week but they still come out to play their hearts out, even at one o’clock in the morning in front of a very small but appreciative crowd. And playing with passion and commitment (and a great degree of talent). But really, they are actually playing for themselves. It was a nice reminder of what I found so compelling about NY when I arrived as a twenty-three year old, eager to make my own mark. Where else on the planet is there such a concentration of incredible musicians? (A fair number of lousy ones too, but that’s a different story).
Anyway, this is all getting a bit corny but I thought it worth noting that on any given day of the week one can stumble blindly into some truly inspiring music. It reminds me of why I got into this in the first place.