Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Peacocks

Last night I heard Anat Cohen play her clarinet. This was with her band, a guitar, bass, and drums. Young guys, fast hands, quick minds, bright smiles and a couple of obbligato grunts. It was a fine set, Cohen wriggled a lot of shapely notes out of that stick, but she didn't quite fill the stage. Perhaps just a case of being a little too casual a performer. She took a couple of lovely turns on "The Peacocks" but the band chafed at first in the reflective mode. Then their blood settled down. She switched to soprano sax for the climactic blues and they churned and strutted with her. All healthy virtuosity. I thought to myself, man, there's a lot of good musicians out there. How are they gonna make a living doing this?

I remember years ago a gaunt Bill Evans work his way into the Rowles tune down at the Vanguard, going down deep in the well. I was a moody wastrel back then and heard it as an elegy for lost youth. A load of crap. I wish Evans could've been playing behind Cohen last night -- the cerebral and the sensual in a one night stand.

Quist used to say, "Memory's a tricky bastard, poot. It'll splice scenes together into something that never even happened." That's okay, I think to myself, the past doesn't exist anymore anyway. It did, but no more. It's a movie now, unspooling in that little theater you got inside your skull. The Free Market Boys know it, that's why they don't dwell on it, they just keep selling us the future.

After listening to the young cats play, I walked out into the drizzly night and whistled away all regret. Call it time well spent.

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