Monday, December 11, 2017

GUEST POST ~ by "Anyjazz" on Music Monday

What follows comes from a post written by my husband on his blog "Thinks Happen" in 2008. I stumbled across it in searching for something else and decided the post ought not to be wasting away, hidden in the depths of defunct blogdom. In its original setting the piece can be accessed via the link at the foot of this post.

The camera tried hard to get a shot for me but the lighting and the inept operator gave only a marginal result. The shutter was open too long and Alison Young moved.

That’s okay. The memory of listening to her play live comes back just as well with this shot as with any other. As my wife and others will attest, when I hear a really talented musician or a really wonderful performance, I tend to weep. Yes, I know.

As I sat in the dark at an after-hours jam session during an Ottawa Jazz Festival, I was often a bit misty eyed. Talented musicians, relaxed before a small audience, played as they felt, often only for their own appreciation. Good stuff.

One such night, a young fellow played an alto sax solo backed with rhythm and piano. His technique was good, polished; his chorus was fresh and welcome. Then as he finished, he unhooked the alto from its neck strap and handed it to a red-haired girl standing just out of the spotlight. After a couple hearty solo piano choruses, 19 year old Alison Young stepped into the light and began to play that same alto sax. And tears came instantly to my eyes. Yes, I was impressed.

It was the same saxophone but nothing else was the same. Her tone and range set her apart. Her attack and enthusiasm made it fascinating. Most of all, her inventiveness kept the listener sitting up straight. I’ll never forget it. When she finished we all realized we had been holding our collective audience breath.

Every moment of our lives has that possibility to connect with someone. Each moment has that ability to be an important moment in someone’s life.

Perhaps as a race we are losing that capability to empathize with our fellow humans. We have become protectorates, isolationists in our own being. We fear or loath connection so much that we avoid sharing any of ourselves. We only perceive the surface of others, not the warmth within.

A child knows how. A child has the ability to freely observe moments from everything, collecting, mimicking and blending. But just like the fairy tales and goblins, this talent fades away as adulthood comes jack booting down the life path.

We can rail on about conservation and brotherly love. We can preach about faith and hope and charity. We can be reliable or lie and make work or leisure for ourselves. We can vote and debate and scoff and complain.

But in the final analysis: we are all we have.


anyjazz said...

I wonder where she is now. She certainly had a gift. Thanks for reminding me about her.

Twilight said...

Anyjazz~ Thanks for the guest post! I "Googled" Alison Young, it's not an uncommon name, so I looked for something musical. There's an Alison Young who plays the flute, and maybe that same person hosts a raidio show in Minnesota. Take a look under "Alison Young flute"

Anonymous said...

Hey ... She's from Ottawa eh ...

... a Lancaster! ...

... Mugsy

anyjazz said...

Thanks so much for the links! It was a pleasure to find out that my impressions of the musicianship of a 17 year old alto sax player were spot on. One of the reviewers in the links reflected my sentiments, that her ability was way beyond her years. Thanks again!

Twilight said...

Mugsy ~ Hey there! Long time, no see! :-)