The other night, my daughter told me she was doing a biography project about Stevie Wonder. After going to the soccer game, listening to selected “ Songs in the Key of Life”on the i pod, I wanted to show her a little more of this creative genius, and explain some musical things. She is a patient child.
Back home, I found a film clip of “ Fingertips” by “ Little Stevie Wonder” She was impressed. “ Wow! He’s good!” After she went out, I looked at some more songs: Rahsaan Roland Kirks’ “ say a little Prayer”. I marveled at the depth of his sound, the tightness of the ensemble, the strangely lackadasical aloof appearance of the British TV audience. I went back to Stevie again, and watched part of “ My Cherie Amour”.
The next day was my birthday. After morning daimoku and gongyo, birthday wishes and presents, everyone left the house, I sat down at the piano, and began transcribing that song. For some unknown reason, I burst into tears, walked the dog, and went to work. The song has been in the back of my mind’s ear since, bubbling up at odd moments, even after listening to Erik Satie’s “ sarabande”. And it has been raining.
And I am wondering why this song brought this reaction from me. In the words of Joey Pigza : “ Can I get back to you on that?” *
*Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos.
I am working on Vexations and as I listen to it over and over I am beginning to hear the first keyboard solo in Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Of course I am only on 32 listens at this point . . .