Archive for Joe Zawinul

And that is when I Know that I am Glad I am Alive

Posted in Acknowledgement, Confessions of a Mad Philosopher, Escape Velocity, longreads, Memoires of a Post-Neo Dharma Bum, The Liberation Through Hearing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2014 by dreamlanddancing

And that is when I Know that I am Glad I am Alive

 

It started this evening as I listened to some old familiar songs from way off the beaten path of my life.

The last two months I have been preoccupied with ugly but inescapable truths, like Death, Loss, Illness, and my own mortality. I was suffocating in sorrow, desperate, restless and exhausted.

Suki played a collection of songs that I had not heard in much too long. Not the kind of music you are likely to hear on the radio unless you listen to one of the satellite radio services that I cannot afford.

The irony of the fact that the best music now comes from outer space is not lost on me, but there was a time when music, especially original music from local, nearly unknown artists consumed the lion’s share of my time and interest in the only home I cared to know.

I was constantly broke and nearly homeless, given the fact that I lived in a storage room in the back of my studio, yet I managed to remain oblivious to my poverty or hunger surrounded by my guitars, a piano, all sorts of drums and percussion instruments, a wall of amplifiers and speakers, numerous synthesizers and keyboards, and enough electronics to summons up the music of the spheres.

And then it was all gone so fast that it took my breath away and kidnapped my soul.

As I lay in the darkness the music undressed me of my preoccupations, fears, remorse, or regrets as I lay stateless, feeling lighter than air, seduced by her siren’s song, this time leading me away from the rocks, as well as the slings and arrows and mind-numbing distractions of a life chosen by default.

Music is my muse, my mistress and my ultimate drug. It is the source of most of my inspiration, even my words.

The juxtaposition of chords, melodies, harmonies, intervallic relationships, atonal,  modal, polyphonic,  polytonal and polyrhythmic alike can produce this pull from within my chest that lifts me out of the doldrums; those massive troughs in the highs and lows so deep you have to look straight up to know if it’s day or night as I feel so swallowed up by the impending doom that it does not even affect me any longer, yet out of nowhere I hear a melody in the cacophony of the broadband noise of two jet engines at altitude harmonizing with each other, although no one hears it but me as I breathe in what feels like new air for the first time in my life.

Zing! My brain is exhilarated and accelerated to Escape Velocity and suddenly there is hope, and love and enthusiasm coursing through my chakras like electrons jumping orbitals to each higher layer as renewed life and energy fills my body once again.

There is a grace in my fearlessness as I embrace the music I hear everywhere coming from nowhere in particular, and yet nothing can surpass the awe and wonder of old songs long forgotten.

And then I realize that I have already heard enough great music to fill my every waking moment for years non-stop with no repeats, devoid of even mediocre run-of-schedule radio crap or advertising jingles…music so wonderful it brings me to tears of joy and gratitude for having heard it.

I have been gathering that music for years…now it is time to put it to good use on my computer, my phone and my I-Pod like an arsenal of weapons wielded by an army of friends.

Enough music to drown out anything I don’t want to hear…like inane drivel from soulless half-witted supervisors with room-temperature IQ’s and no imagination who fear everything they don’t understand…or gossip, or the re-telling of some episode from a television series I didn’t want to watch in the first place.

As I recall the elation I experienced the first time I heard music by King Crimson, Hendrix, Jeff Beck, or Debussy, Todd Rundgren, Eric Satie, Dream Theater, Stephen Trask, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, or Joe Zawinul (and so many others whose names escape me in this moment of bliss) I also realize how much new music is just out there, waiting to be discovered like new lands or distant planets as yet unvisited.

Then I recognize how I have unknowingly cultivated this fear, this idea that bliss is allowed only so often in one’s life, but after realizing the low dark place from whence those fears come, I realize I am ashamed for not insisting on more and better music all along as I find the resolve to put my highest intentions to paper, so to speak, even if the thoughts and ideas that spring from my brain’s fingers are now more like a flash of light. No typewriter or paper…a figure of speech replaced by binary code and digital laser impulses.

No need to make Good or Bad or Evil or Beautiful or Ugly…just look with the eyes of detached compassion, non-judgmental admiration and fearless affection and you will see all exactly as it is.

,,,and it all started with just a song….

These old, tired eyes and ears see and hear Beauty everywhere once again when I realize I don’t have to make Ugly…it’s all a choice.

Even without an instrument, I will always be a musician, just as without canvass, brushes, pens, cameras, or other implements I will always be an artist so long as I have ears with which to hear, eyes with which to see, and a heart with which to love.

And that is so much more than just feeling alive…it is the empowerment to know how to accomplish my own resuscitation.

…and to think it all started with a song….

 

 

 

 

 

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