Sunday, February 28, 2010

Joshua Bell and Jazz

On Valentine's Day, Mrs. S dragged me kicking and screaming to a chamber music concert to hear the violinist Joshua Bell. (Well, not kicking and screaming, because I did buy her the front row seats that she asked for. Let's just say I was dubious.)

Even as the ladies ooh-ed and ahh-ed over his good looks (see below), Mr. Bell knocked my pink-heart socks off!

I'd never heard such violin music. His control was amazing, his stamina that of a marathoner, and his mastery of dynamics and tone was just phenomenal. He's recently been dabbling in popular music and jazz, and since Funny Valentine was on his last CD, I felt pretty sure he'd play that for the Valentine's concert encore. He decided to play something different, but it was fantastic too.

We got several autographs and talked with him for a little while at the dinner after the concert. We met some fascinating people at the concert, too.

What's the point?

The point is, one month from last Thursday, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be in Huntsville Alabama for a concert, and what Mrs. S. and I have discovered is that when a big name star, like Joshua Bell or Wynton Marsalis, comes to your small home town, you'd better make the time and effort to go and see them. There's nothing quite like the relatively intimate show that consummate musicians and entertainers can put on, as proved by Mr. Bell and as Mr. Marsalis will no doubt prove in just less than a month.

For the record, Mrs. S. and I paid about $250 for season tickets so we could be guaranteed of seeing Mr. Marsalis's concert, and while tickets for that are still available, two nights after the Huntsville concert for the concert in Atlanta, Wynton Marsalis tickets are going for $165 apiece (if you can find them). That means Mrs. S and I will be seeing Mr. Marsalis in concert for a discount, and we got to see two musicals for free.

Can't beat that with a timpani mallet.

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