Saturday, January 31, 2009

last night

I heard an amazing show at Joe's Pub. Or, I should say, I heard half of an amazing show. Janus Trio opened with a set of works written for them. In particular, a *fantastic* piece by Anna Klein. Then they joined Andrew McKenna Lee, a guitarist who plays like he has eight arms, and eight brains for that matter. He continued on his own, a set of his own music that got me thinking about a character in Thomas Mann's "Magic Mountain." It's an Italian inmate at the sanatorium who tells the main character that he fears and dislikes music for its power of propaganda- in other words, its power to make people forget that time is passing them by. As Andrew played, the entire space, bar, tables, waiters, was nearly silent the entire time. My mom said he reminded her of a spider, with his incredibly crafty and articulate fingers. To continue the metaphor, he wove a web with his music, on de-tuned, or, rather, altered-tuned guitars, and I was trapped. I think we all were there. Both Janus and Andrew McKenna Lee record for New Amsterdam Records, a label my friend Judd started, which produces great, adventuresome music. Judd and I met when we both studied at Third Street Music School, where I now teach. Third Street, at its best, can be a beautiful, safe, nurturing home for selfless music-making. It was definitely some selfless, generous music-making I heard last night. Joe's Pub had that nurturing feeling that reminded me of when I was a student and we'd all go to hear each other play and support each other all the time. A nice feeling to remember.

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