Tuesday, May 06, 2008


On a box dot net server I have uploaded files of music recordings I've made. The links to my music you find on the pages of this web log are on that server. This morning I was at box, looking at the download activity for my posted files, and I wondered who all those people might be. The comment level for my posts is hardly a puddle, but some tunes there have been downloaded hundreds of times. I hope you, dear reader, will send up a flare as you surf on by, and let me know just a bit about who was interested enough to download the music. Nothing at all personal is intended.
Here's a YouTube of a young ocarina virtuoso who, apart from his recognizable expressivity, is entirely unknown to me. I admire this kind of finesse, although those cursed with perfect pitch may not wish to view the clip repeatedly.

I don't know the fellow, but I feel sure that were we to find ourselves together, strangers snowbound in an airport for a day, we would part with a wordless but deeply sympathetic understanding of each other and a couple hundred euros apiece in change. That's one ukulele player's reve du jour.

Friday, May 02, 2008

In the mid-seventies I was heading into my senior year at high school. My last campus tormentor had graduated in June, and I was looking forward to a year of not flinching and hiding. I watched my schoolmates coming out of band practice with their horns and drum gear, and looked down at my ukulele without a case. The Aragon High School jazz band had no use for a ukulele.

I was thinking about stealing a new last name, and imagining a future in journalism that was shaped more by romantic ideas of Herman Mankiewicz and H. L. Mencken than by anything possible in 1975. I had written for the school paper and now my oldest friend from first grade and two friends of his and I were starting an independent paper through school clubs. It was probably the apex of my being full of myself. Belated apologies to all who knew me.

Into this reflective time of stormy youth came illumination from the heart and soul of Leonard Bernstein, whose first ballet score, the jazzy, slangy Fancy Free, had been rattling around my head for a whole year. My local public tv station, KQED, was showing THE UNANSWERED QUESTION: Six Talks At Harvard on Saturdays in the second half of summer. I was not the same kid after the first talk, Musical Phonology.

The series is still available in hardcover, VHS, and DVD. It still turns me on, even in four minute chunks. One of those is below via YouTube.