"Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you, but in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me." lyrics by Gus Kahn
My favourite duet with Louis Armstrong is with vocalist Velma Middleton singing That's my Desire. I've been listening to this duet recording on cassette tape for years until I found a rare video performance tonight. These old Dixieland jazz standards bring the kind of simple grandeur as understood by the likes of master improviser and jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, who said, "The more experience someone has, the more their simplicity is profound." Their musical simplicity is spacious enough to offer the needful release of Southern jazz artists mixed up in the lowly roil of dominant American prejudice. Music is the teacher, and with the intuitive language of sound, speaks to all indiscriminately, "Love is simple."
She plays an acoustic piano with a Chinese zither in the body. Virtuosic at the keys and the zither strings simultaneously, the stage ignites with the mysterious vibes of a Native World Jazz fusion. Other musicians bend traditional instrumentation with a creative harmony so seamless its enigmatic ingenuity fascinates infinitely.
|Nocturnal Serenade by Jan Steen|
The lead musician, a full-bodied older woman, exudes a singular light as the stage dims and the concert hall empties. She stands in redolent awe and reverence for the magic of music. I gaze at the stage, as the musicians remain immobile. Their colourful clothing bespeaks contemporary First Nations traditions. The light outshines my eyes, as I stagger off with a mind unfulfilled by the enduring silence.
When you decide what to do with your life
When you feel you are alive and not as good as dead inside,
A nothing where you hide…
Not just a nothing
Where you lie…
One day you realize you must die,
So how to prepare for death,
First step live,
Second fail life with a smile
To see as clearly as your de-fogged morning
Mirror of bright possibility with pure face,
That freedom is a tear
And Death is a gift from the bosom of life herself.
excerpts from "Live life and Die"