Keith Jarrett Is A Wise Man

I feel like an alcoholic.

When you’re addicted to alcohol (or any substance, be it cigarettes or chocolate) and you want to stop that addiction, it takes willpower.  Oodles and oodles and giant dump truck-size buckets of willpower.  You have to constantly be vigilant, putting yourself in positions that are least likely to tempt you, eating and drinking other things just to keep a nice glass of whiskey out of your mouth, relying on others and meetings to keep you on the straight and narrow.  But, most of all, it simply requires inner fortitude.  After all, only YOU control what you put in your mouth, what your hands choose to hold at any given moment in time….a banana or a shot glass.  You always have a choice, but sometimes you don’t feel that you do…..humans are great at justifying things to themselves, and it’s certainly the path of least resistance to just say, “This is the easy way.  This requires no effort.  That’s what I’ll do.”

And, thusly, I compare not posting to my blog to being an alcoholic.  (Too much of a stretch??)

It’s certainly been the path of least resistance over the past month to not sit down at the computer and begin typing a new blog entry.  There have been lots of things happening in my life over the past couple of months that have made it hard to find the spare time to sit down for an hour or two and write about my favorite topic of all time – music – let alone find time to breathe.  Even so, I felt I was doing pretty good through February and into March…..once a week like clockwork, every Monday another blog post.  I thought I was getting into a good rhythm with it, actually.  But then it all went to hell.  Bleh.

I don’t know why every time I “fall off the wagon,” so to speak, I feel the need to apologize. I suppose I’m mostly apologizing to myself, as writing about music is something I quite love to do, and I feel less about myself and my life when I don’t make time to do the things I love.  But I guess that it’s also nice to think that some people out there are reading what I write, and maybe even getting something out of the experience as well…..and I would so hate to lose an audience.

Regardless, I feel that today is a good day to pen a quick entry, as a unique request was made of me no more than an hour or two ago. A talented musician and good friend of mine named Jenna wrote this on my Facebook wall around 8pm:

“I’ve got a blog idea you might like-ahem…people who spend a whole rock concert taking video and photos with their fancy gizmos instead of actually taking the time to experience the rock concert-in person-while it is happening. Ready, set, go.”

Okay….challenge accepted. This is actually a topic with which I could spend a few paragraphs (or hours) going over the various and sundries of the ways in which “gizmos” can compromise the near-spiritual bond between an audience and a performer; how technology, while a useful tool, can sometimes just simply get in the way of a good experience….like someone at a family reunion trying so hard to get the perfect picture of everyone in attendance that they miss out on actually spending time with their own relatives. (I may or may not have a little experience with this topic myself.  Just sayin’.)

But when Jenna issued that challenge to me, the first thing I thought of was this article about musician Keith Jarrett, written by blogger Jeffery To. It’s such a completely well-written, thoughtful, and comprehensive article on the subject that I said to myself, “Wow.  I can post a blog entry in record time tonight, and won’t even have to write much at all to get it done.”

Lazy, I know……but at this point, sadly, I’m just looking for enablers.  After all, did I mention I was an alcoholic?

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6 Responses to “Keith Jarrett Is A Wise Man”

  1. Thank you for indulging me! I saw that article about Jarrett too and agreed completely. Then I experienced something similar at the concert last night. People “watching” the concert through their gizmos…and they were people of all ages! So sad and wrong 😦

  2. I went to a concert a few months ago and the club was very strict about not allowing photography or recording from the moment the lights went down (as the performers were walking out) to the very end of the show (once the performers were back stage again).

    At first I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the small venue and get several close up shots of the band for my blog (and maybe even a video!!), but not being able to artificially freeze the moment with technology made the experience infinitely more valuable; it gave the show a beautiful spiritual quality in that it would only exist in my memory (and the slightly different memories of the other people there in that one unrepeatable moment). It suddenly felt very Zen like, and I was able to focus fully on the moment. The feeling I felt is perfectly expressed in J.D. Salinger’s short story ‘Teddy’ : “…someone just dumped a whole garbage can of orange peels out the window….They float very nicely….

    That’s interesting….I don’t mean its interesting that they float….It’s interesting that I know about them being there. If I hadn’t seen them, then I wouldn’t know they were there, and if I didn’t know they were there, I wouldn’t be able to say that they even exist….

    Some of them are starting to sink now. In a few minutes, the only place they’ll still be floating will be inside my mind.

    That’s quite interesting, because if you look at it a certain way, that’s where they started floating in the first place.”

    • LOVE that Salinger bit, Carrie. Haven’t read much of him, and I should rectify that. And I know very well that whole feeling….should I get some audio/video, or just WATCH. You want to capture the moment while it’s happening so you can preserve it, but can you REALLY ever capture a moment? We should probably just enjoy them as they float by, savoring as many details as we can, without obscuring the moment in any other way. 🙂 Thanks for checking in!

  3. It’s an interesting dichotomy. Most of the shows I attend, I’m taking notes and photos for a review blogpost. Occasionally, I’ll catch a show with no intention of reviewing it, just to take away that particular pressure. Either way, if the music and my head are right, I’ll enjoy the magic of it just fine. A bigger factor for me is that I am analytical by nature, which adds a certain layer.

    That said, I read the Keith Jarrett article. I don’t use a flash for my concert photography, in part for politeness as well as aesthetic reasons. I understand Jarrett’s annoyance about distracting flashes, but I also think it must be nice to be able to discipline an audience.

    I’ve played for bars where I’d like to coerce members of the crowd to stop hitting on that hottie and appreciate my solo;-) Actually, my real philosophy is that, as a musician, I’m occasionally able to create some magical moments and anyone in the crowd that catches the wave with me are welcome and lucky. And that’s also how I feel at a show as an audience member.

    • As a performer myself (on occasion ;)), I agree with you. It’s always nice to get the audience into a show, and let them enjoy it to the fullest however they do. Photography doesn’t bother me. But I think the genre of music also has something to do with it. Running around snapping photos at a Yo-Yo Ma concert is a totally different thing than doing the same at an Allston rock bar at 1am. I think some types of music, or even venues, can dictate the situation…..and I think the performer has a right to nix photography if they choose. Then, once the ground rules are laid down, people can enjoy the show however suits them best. Nice to hear from you, Jester!

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