Monthly Archives: March 2009
Earlier today, I was rummaging through my mind, trying to find a memory I had misplaced. You know when you are trying to find something you have lost, you end up finding out instead just how much shit you have lying around. At first you may think,”If I could only organize this mess, then at least I will have a better chance of uncovering what it was I was originally looking for.” So you start to categorize, putting like things in neat little groups. It dawns on you that you are not cutting down on the clutter, and you may even start to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of accumulation. “Hey, I forgot about this old fear, and I though I let go of this obsession a long time ago. Is that anxiety and this insecurity really still haunting me?” So you try a new approach. “I really don’t need or want most of this shit anyway,” you may think, so why not start throwing it out. Easier said than done.
A popular analogy in Buddhism states that the mind is similar to an ocean, and our thoughts to the individual waves. Even though the waves seem separate from the ocean, ultimately they are one and the same, similar to how each though arises from our minds, seeming to have it’s own reality, but it does not. It is really just a part of the mind. Also like the wave that rises up and will eventually disappear back into the water it came from, so too our thoughts are impermanent, going back from whence they came as well. We begin to suffer when we keep holding on to these thoughts, these fears, this anger, as if they are possessions that define who we are. They are not. In fact, they prevent us from being who we really are. They are ultimately clutter, taking up valuable space. This space could be better served filled with creativity, with compassion, with love, and perhaps even more important, focusing on staying present.
I think my spring cleaning this year will entail more than just the closets and garage…
Just got back from seeing the Five Peace Band, night 2 of our three-shows-in-a-row music orgy, and I am still trying to peel my brains from the roof of my skull. If Stanton Moore was the king of drums last night, Vinnie Colaiuta is a fucking GOD! Hell, the whole stage was filled with music gods, each so completely dominent on his own instrument. The thing about a show like this, with so much individual talent on the stage, is how the chemistry flows between the players. It can run the risk of coming across as sterile and contrived. Definitely NOT the case tonight. The musicians looked to be having as much fun as we were, and let me tell you, we were having a blast! I can’t remember the last time I went to a jazz show that ran 3 and a quarter hours! They were so loose, dancing and joking around between songs. But when they were playing… baby were they playing. They would push each other, complement each other, the chemistry was unbelievable. They were all great, but man, John McLaughlin (silently shaking my head, unable to find the words). It is also a treat to see such great musicians enjoying each other’s playing so much, big smiles all around. It was truely one of those peak musical experiences that I felt privledged to be able to witness.
Reason number 1,743 why I love the Bay Area would be the sheer volume of great music we have access to here. Spring has sprung, and with it come the spring season of SF Jazz. This year, there is a veritable cornucopia of musical plenty, certainly more than my wallet will allow. It all began last night. We spent a soul rewarding evening bathing ourselves in the most deliciously thick, bumpin’ and bubbly funk I have heard in a loooong time. It was Will Bernard and his band, composed of keyboard madman John Medeski, drum god Stanton Moore, and bassist Andy Hess. The show was at the Great American Music Hall, a true SF musical landmark. But this is just the beginning…
Dipping back to our old days, we are embarking on a 3-shows-in-3-nights weekend of musical bliss. Tonight, we see the Five Peace Band as part of Cal Performances. This band is a “super group” in the truest sense of the word. Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, and Vinnie Colaiuta!!!!! Whoa.
Then tomorrow, on to the place that is my idea of heaven – Yoshi’s (sushi and jazz, come on!) for the man who continually takes the banjo where none have gone before, Bela Fleck, and Toumani Diabate, an extraordinarily gifted Mali kora harp player.
Wait, listen…Ahhhh… that was my soul sighing. I love music!