While working at Black Diesel as a barista, I came to know a patron known as Tim the Lawyer (as we affectionately called him from behind the bar). He really was this successful lawyer that, when talking to him, you wouldn’t know that he was so successful. Tim was also peculiarly interested in the music that I chose to play at the shop, especially when I decided to play jazz. In fact, the first album that he commented on was one by Kat Edmonson, Take To The Sky.
In talking about my move to London and taking my alto or soprano over, this is what Tim said:
“Well it sounds like you’re going to have to bring both saxes over, then.”
I didn’t bring both, but luckily, I took to the trouble of ample negotiations and chance-taking with the airline to get my saxophone onto the plane, free of charge. I undoubtedly was going to bring my saxophone over, or at least find one when I was there (I’m still in the market for that perfect, old tenor in a whole-in-the-wall antique shop, perhaps something that the owner thinks is a throw away but becomes such an endearing tenor in my musical life). However, I figured I would play in a band or find some sort of gig to play at, but I wasn’t aware of how deeply, emotionally-involved I would become with music. I didn’t know how much priority music would start to take in my life, or realise the sheer amount of joy I got from playing music.
After deciding to drop out from the school of music at U-M, I was decently embarrassed to play the saxophone. Every time I met another student who was playing music at the SMTD, I got a pang of nervousness, of being so unqualified to play music because I had made the active choice to leave the music industry (in more of a formal way) earlier on. I still think that I feel this sort of (unfounded) pressure today — every time I start to try and learn some sort of theory, or start to study music, the pressure starts to weigh on my shoulders and makes me nervous to learn more, only to discover how little I know, and how much time I’ve already lost in learning music.
However, as I was walking to the Shaw Theatre to play in a show that we just had this week, a big one, called “Birdland”, I was reminded (perhaps by my subconscious) of how deeply lost I get when I’m playing any sort of piece. I lose myself when playing certain pieces – it’s almost as if, when I finish playing, I wake up from a quasi-dream state having forgotten what I was meant to do the next day, where I came from to get to the venue where I was playing, what I was worried about while I was walking up the stairs. I feel as if whatever meta-feelings I’m having (e.g. those that aren’t certainly concrete, or are situationally-dependent… ‘shallow’ as some might say) are whisked away and I am able to channel only my inner, purer feelings into the music that I’m playing at the time.
Something then should be said for this feeling — with very few things do I lose myself this deeply, so much that I lose the concept of time passing by. I hadn’t really recognised this until I was able to truly lose myself in the music. I have some ideas as to what may explain this, but they really aren’t fully developed — what I do want to exclaim, to iterate incessantly, is this previously untouched feeling of being happily directionless and satisfied in the environment in which I find myself. Another post may be devoted to where this feeling will take me.