November Soul

Greeings!  First of all, welcome to new readers from Albania, United Arab Emerites, India, SIngapore , Georgia, Canada, the United States. I hope this blog will be useful, entertaining for you.

Up here in the near tundra, November can be one of the most painful months: intense introspection, death all around, the reminder of the impending  big white blanket, frosty air that is sure to come.  The days are more dark than ever, the colors intense and vibrant. It is the anniversary of the SGI Buddhist organization, and memorial for Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, it’s founder, who died in prison in WW2 Japan. November makes me look deeply inside of myself.

But there is no cure, no respite like moments of sunshine in November. You can feel this sunlight when you eat the last windowsill tomatoes. when you watch the wind blow off the remaining red and gold leaves from the trees in front of you, when you rake them up into big, crunchy paper bags.

And, of course, there is the music.  You play it, proudly, and with  presence, because you HAVE to!  On Friday, through unexpected scheduling situations, I ended up with a  quartet at my gig, where I usually do trios.  It was a fine group, of friends who have not played together before.  James Holdman surprised me by bringing a real guitar ( a hollow bodied,) Aaron Kerr had his mysterious electric cello, ( with the extra bottom string), and Peter Leggett brought his compact green drum set.  And Aaron and I brought our  teenaged daughters, who go to the same school.

It was a swinging evening.  We played from my much-used book of tunes ” the Surreal book” volume one, and extended the tunes a little more.  Then, we took some chances, and played from a book I compiled with 13 of my musical friends, ” the So -Real book”.  ( No, you can’t get one. yet. I only made 15 copies!)  We played two of Jame’s tunes: ” AKA ROTTERDAM” ( a most sultry g minor shuffle that David Edminster HAS to play!!) and ” Steal Harry’s Shoe”.  “…Rotterdam” was in my head ALL DAY yesterday; hummable, very much like a Sonny Rollins tune.  We also played Aaron’s tune , ” Humanity” in 15/4 meter — an expansive vehicle of exploration, in tense and tender colors.     It had been a long time since I played with a guitar in a quartet situation.  My tunes took on a different light.  But with such great players, good things are bound to happen!

Yesterday was busy, chanting a lot, and getting ready for a meeting at my house.  I decided that I was going to write a ballad in Ab today.  Got up in the night, let the dog out, slept the sleep of the dead in the basement under numerous covers, crawled out of bed at the untimely time of 8:15!   ( which is practically noon for me) Did my prayers, coffee, walked the dog, and when my wife left for a meeting, I sat at the piano, with a clear head,  and wrote a tune, a ballad, in Ab.

I am really liking it.  Quite rhapsodic: echos of ” after the Rain” by Coltrane, ” an Ear thermometer for Peace” by my friend Kevin Schmidt, along with references to things I have written earlier, like ” Blues for Gandhi” and ” a mind is a terrible thing ( without a heart)”.  ( but do you really steal from yourself?)  and, an ending  cadence which seems like Carei Thomas wrote it.
The tune iscalled ” Breathing Room”, and dedicated to all the healers, especially my friend Brian Grosam.  It’s going to be a  great tune. I cant’ wait to share it with you. Haven’t figured out the specific notation, but i have the feel down. I know what it is.

oh, and the other victory I had so far: I found out that I have all the symptoms of  Adult ADD.  No wonder I am the way I am!  I am going to change this poison into medicine, find the right solution(s), and be who I am.   Now, I am gong to chant with some friends.  See you later!

Oh yes.

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