vrijdag 16 oktober 2015

Reinventing the way I listen to music with Hank Jones and Charlie Haden

When I started making music it changed my life. It was not only the music itself, but also the social aspect, finding friends who like the same thing. People who like to memorize Michael Brecker solos, who love to study ugly overtones every day and are always on he look out for new music to listen. The way we listened and studied music changed the way I think.

In 2008 this all changed. I as injured in an accident. My ulnar nerve was severed and my right hand was paralyzed for about half. The doctors predicted I could never play again.
They were wrong.
I didn't play for about half a year and started to practice again. My first project was a cd with pieces that I could play with one hand. I released a cd called 'On the Other Hand' after. My idea was that the cd was my final project as a musician or the start of a new period.

It turned out to be the last.

And then I got cancer. Again another season of recovery. Another period of contemplation. 

In the last four years I have largely stopped listening to music. Photography took over. I listened to music intensely for 35 years before that. Discovering so much creativity, sounds, new stuff, ranging from old music to gospel, from baroque to Andrew Lloyd Webber, from Debussy to Xenakis, from Charlie Parker to Evan Parker... And then it stopped. I discovered photography, and kept playing.

Now I have cancer and I am undergoing chemo therapy. And I am rediscovering music. Being a pro musician changed the way I experience music. One of the reasons I listen to music to get something from it. To be inspired for my craft in some way.

Now I am getting back to listening to music. Not being able to play and being in survival mode in my daily life has changed the way I listen to music. 

Charlie Haden & Hank Jones on @AppleMusic

I found this album through my Apple Music subscription. Gospel-like folk tunes played by Hank Jones (recorded three months before he died) and one of my idols, Charlie Haden.
I have listened to it several times already the last week. I played it for my friends and the album accompanies me on my daily walks. It's a simple album. There's hardly one dissonance on it. The bass parts are basic and the piano doesn't play alterations.

But this album will not give something to work with in my own practice. Yes, maybe abstract inspiration, but no concrete ideas, big or small. I just enjoy this album. No strings attached. I can listen to it and not think about how I can incorporate this somehow in my own playing. I don't listen to this album, listening for things I like or don't like.

Being a musician changed the way I experience music. And that's fine. But I guess that's what people mean when they decide that do not want to be a pro musician and keep enjoying music like a true amateur. Apparently it took me 20 years to discover this. I am not sure if I can go back to this experience of music. But this album is a great start again. 

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