29 May 2005

Music of the Spheres

Normally this blog is about the intersection of religion, science, and society. But music falls into that intersection. My wife and I went to a jazz concert last night.

Laurence Hobgood began to weave the tapestry on his piano, threads both fat and thin, some dark, others iridescent, scintillating. The fabric thus established, Rob Amster began painting impressionist touches on the bass, delicately at first like Matisse, then arcing, turning, laying it down in 3D like Jackson Pollock. And behind it all, simmering, Frank Parker cooked like the Iron Chef of Percussion. Together they created a meditation, acoustically re-arranging the brainwaves of the audience, easing us onto the edge of trancendence.

That was the first five minutes. Then Kurt Elling came onstage with his voice. Elling's CDs cannot be played as background music. Your attention is captured by his voice. When he is live, onstage, your attention is riveted. It's not just the sound, it's the intonation, the phrasing, the romantic poetry, the delivery. And he plays with his voice and the microphone. He has fun, and pulls the audience right along with him. Nor is he afraid to touch upon his roots as a Divinity student. In the second of two homages to Duke Ellingtion, he sang "Lord, look down, and see my people through."

It looks like musically, that is what's happening. We no longer have Sinatra with us, but we will be all right. We have Elling. And the best thing is that he is about 15 years younger than I am. There's a good chance I will get to enjoy new Kurt Elling material every now and then for the rest of my days.

1 comment:

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