Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
Because I realized last evening at the Sharik Hasan Quartet concert that some of the most valuable lessons in wisdom can be had from going to a concert. I live in a city that falls under the cultural segregation – ‘where not much happens,’ but that is to an eye that doesn’t see and to a calendar that can’t accommodate a thing like a free jazz concert on its calendar. So, for me, this is a great city, made more interesting yesterday by a boy from here who flew over musical lands to comeback last evening and dedicate a ballad to his nonagenarian grandfather and also allow the city to enjoy the beauty of his education gathered through the years since he left his city.
This Quartet from New York City began as concerts usually do,to an audience waiting to hear, we all pretended successfully in thinking that nobody was solely there for the free drinks, no socializing-addicts either. I indulged myself in the occasional imagination spree I go on with perfect settings, transporting myself to say a bar in NYC,imagining lights, a wooden table with a glass of lime margarita on it, retro posters on the wall, waiters swaying around taking orders, other tables with people like me lost in music, some whispering in hushed voices and the city outside,bright and beautiful, the summer winds chasing a fallen leaf on a cement sidewalk.
The music came to a gentle halt, there seemed to be a glitch,the musician on the piano, Sharik Hasan, is not comfortable. ‘There’s a problem with the pedal, it’d be nice if someone can help fix it,’ he said (of course in a better English than this direct speech). What a sight it’d have been if a woman in a summer dress walked up to the stage while a full auditorium watched, helped the musician fix the pedal, smiled sweetly and the music continued. That happened only in my mind’s eye while in reality, the musician waited, playing still and hoping help’d arrive. ‘We will make do, it’s Jazz,’ he said. Never mind that I was in a flowing summer dress and painfully devoid of any knowledge pertaining to fixing piano pedals.
I don’t know what a pedal is, or didn’t know until the drummer, Philippe Lemm later explained. I couldn’t tell the difference between a perfect piano and a piano with a faulty pedal. My naiveté guesses not many in the hall could, even if they did they wouldn’t complain. Two compositions were rendered, no help arrived and the musician was at free will to play on and not worry too much about perfection, he was great anyway!
He didn’t do that. He looked around, displayed an unusual pianist behavior – clearly, something is wrong unless this is an idiosyncratic mannerism. It was not. ‘Please don’t mind as I go under the table and fix the pedal,’ said the pianist. ‘We will play something for you,’ said the soulful drummer with dreadlocks.
As the bass, saxophone and the drums continued playing – the pianist, crawled under the table – in his full suit, in the open glare of an auditorium full of people. In most scenarios, this is considered embarrassing or inappropriate, an act not many accomplished, talented musicians are willing to make. I say this after being witness to a well-exhibited moment of disgust a very popular classical dancer made on stage last year, in the middle of her performance to a larger audience compared to this one – ‘you better fix those lights or I am out of here,’ she reprimanded the lights guy.
The pianist did his best to fix the pedal but couldn’t quite get there, the music played on until technicians = real help arrived on the spot. In how many concerts would you see a disassembled piano on stage! The other musicians with their instruments played an impromptu gig.
Why was this necessary? This was because the pianist believed the audience deserved to hear his best. This was also necessary because the true meaning of our education is to defeat ego, to believe in beauty that is to come and work at bringing it, to give with a full heart , to have a sense of humour to escape the dreariness of monotony and to leave a space for infinite possibility which was occupied last evening with a terrific solo by each one of the artists Reviv Markovitz on bass, Adam Larson on saxophone and Philippe Lemm on drums.
This lesson is important to learn: that when there’s a problem at hand, you do your best to fix it.
Lesson number two: The gig must go on.
To the technicians who fixed the piano last evening, thankyou very much! A great performance by the Sharik Hasan Quartet was quiteenjoyed by all. And I had a good night’s sleep.