Saturday, January 28, 2012


If it hasn't already been written, someday I'm going to write a song called "Serendipity". It's going to be about the things that happen coincidentally, unexpectedly, or, just happen to be interesting. You know, those things that happen in a life, like jazz, or interesting odometer readings when you aren't moving and have time to take a picture. Like this one:

Serendipity: Odometer reading in mid-December on our 2006 Pontiac Vibe, just before I traded it back to Mrs. S  for the 2009 Vibe with satellite radio.
Oh, and hello to everyone back in Cleveland. Dig that outside temp in mid December!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When jazz isn’t enough

Last week, I had the privilege to hear Bela Fleck perform his Concerto for Banjo with Orchestra, only the second performance ever of this piece which debuted last year. Now, banjo is certainly not my favorite instrument in the whole world. In fact, if not for the steel guitar, it might well be my least favorite instrument. But Fleck is a blues-minded bluegrass guy with a decided bent toward and numerous accomplishments in the world of jazz, so I figured, why not go and listen to him play with an orchestra?

This turned out to be quite fortuitous, as I also got to hear a piece by Puts that was reminiscent of Smetana and a strings only piece that was so highly original, ethereal, and charming, it wasn’t reminiscent of any other piece I’ve ever heard. Then came the concerto. I really enjoyed it. I won’t bother to describe the piece (such things never quite doing justice to a piece of music you know probably 98% of your readers have never heard – and besides, one can Google it and get a rundown on it elsewhere), but I will say this: for something that was only performed once before, and to play it without sheet music (as Fleck did), even given the fact that as the writer of the piece you expect him to know it as well or better than anyone, Fleck’s mastery of the concerto and his instrument was beyond phenomenal. Even Mrs. S felt that last Thursday’s concert was probably the best concert we’ve been to this season, with the only possible exception being the New York Phil’s concerts.

Which makes me thankful that for a guy like Fleck: jazz, or bluegrass, or whatever he’s considered mainstream in, isn’t enough. It brings me opportunities to experience music I would otherwise never have experienced. Heck, I might even buy one of his creepy jazz banjo CD’s. (Maybe, someday.)

And for those of you tuning in to learn about my antique piano restoration project, I wish to formally announce that I have abandoned said project, as I have become convinced that piano will never be playable as it sits in my dining room today. I’m in the process of trying to sell the beast and am hopeful to have it gone soon. Should I be unable to sell it, I fully intent to gut it and make a bar out of it. (Yes, a piano bar.) Hopefully, a motivated buyer will save me from the ignominy of that arduosity. We’ll see.