Saturday, August 29, 2015

Music, personified

I've been working on salsa dancing lately.  As Donald Trump would say..."It's a total disaster!"

  Well, not quite.  But the results have hardly been graceful.  It's been most helpful with my guitar teaching, though.  Always a sympathetic teacher, I have extra respect for my students.  It's hard to learn something new, and there's nothing to bring the feeling back than to get repeatedly kicked in the metaphorical teeth! 

  The journey is not all sweat, though.  New experiences bring new thoughts, and recently, I saw a question that I haven't been able to answer, but one that I hope to figure out with everyone.  

  At the salsa club the other night, I witnessed a performance by some experienced performers.  The two best dancers presented a striking contrast, and the heart of the questions:

One of them was a knockout gorgeous Latina wearing a slinky feather costume, and the other was a man in tights and a sparkly jacket.  Now, the only reason I mention this detail is to illustrate that I'm predisposed to enjoy the Latina's performance just a bit more...

  Now that we have our scientific basis stated - Mr. Sparkly Jacket floored me.  I mean - this dude was out of this world.  

  He spun and leaped across the floor, and became the music.  I was reminded of a flame flickering with cheery and mysterious abandon across dying embers, a mind of it's own, bearing a message if we but watch.  If Salsa, that smoky, exotic sound, the vapors of a fiesta far, far away, were to condense into human would be this guy.  

  Ms. Feather Mermaid shimmied across the floor, tossed her hair, and demonstrated utmost skill - but remained mortal, a person who knew how to dance at a high level.  

  I recalled the time I saw Jeff Beck in 2006.  His band was talented, skilled, and earned every cent of their pay.  They knew a lot of licks.  Then Jeff picked up his guitar, played one note, and in doing so, explained why it was his name on the ticket.

  Why?  And how can we condense out of the sounds swirling through the air to become a flame of whatever we're trying to express?  

  I don't know, but let's figure it out.  

- Josh