I’m taking jazz vocal so I can release the dusty blues musician playing vibes with my ribs inside me. Every week we bring in a song to shape. I remembered I had this old Tony Bennett album he recorded with my favorite jazz pianist, the late Bill Evans. The album is from the early 70’s I think and it is just the two of them singing some thickly beautiful tunes. One of the is called ‘Some Other Time’, a slow, stick a tap in your heart and chug ballad made for piano. It turns out the tune was written by Leonard Bernstein. It seems every time his name is attached to music I love it, I feel it, I ache it. West Side Story is the most perfect musical ever written in my opinion. I don’t dig musicals in general. Certain songs but that canned kind of Broadway voice doesn’t do it for me. Breaking out in song when you’re about bob for apples makes me want to run home and take a naked roll in Hamlet bedsheets, should anyone else besides Kenneth Branagh, who I imagine has Hamlet bedsheets of himself as Hamlet, have Hamlet bed sheets. A couple of months ago I got called in to do a reading for a musical; I won’t get more detailed at this point except to say there was a song about everything and it lasted three and a half hours long. If the main character dropped her brush in the toilet, there was a song about it. What I didn’t understand was that the main character, who was supposed to be in her early thirties, was played by the writer, who was at least in her late fifties and her love interest, same age, was played by a man who looked like Rob Reiner’s warm-up clone; meanwhile, myself, who was the youngest man in the room by a generation, was playing a character who was older than me with older than me personality issues. I got home and thought is this what musicals do to people? Although I have to say when a musical fails, it fails bigger because music is the deepest purest expression of the human soul of all the arts, the way I feel, like a man born with B flat branded on the inside of lungs. To quote Charlie Who-Horse from my play-film Whorapy, “Don’t believe in no strategies, colors and music’s all I see.” It is a swift set of notes from prayer to hymn. Sometimes I can hear music, violins in the trees, drums in the benches, and I can almost get it written down. There are symphonies, cantatas floating in the air, homeless rootless fruit that you can’t catch with your hands or even the eardrums, but I still hear them brush by like aliens shifting dimensions around me.
Off to bed, but maybe not to sleep.