My daughter was one of 100 Seattle-area high school students who had opportunity to hear Joey Alexander live when he was at the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum earlier this month. I’ve been listening to him since he arrived in the US, and feel grateful that wonderful musicians continue to exist in this often dark world. What blows me away about Joey is part his age (even people who don’t believe in reincarnation are tempted to when they hear a prodigy), but more the seamless way he converses and listens with other musicians. Something that can’t be taught. Music is like his entire being’s language and his conversations are incredible.
We had the pleasure of enjoying another type of jazz, gypsy jazz, this week when Djangofest arrived in our community. We could afford to attend one concert out of the festival lineup, and we chose these guys. It doesn’t seem possible to feel down when listening to gypsy jazz. Whenever I encounter great musicians, I think about all the mundane things artists have to go through to get to moment in time and place to share their art (plane travel, housing arrangements, even getting dressed for performances and finding bathrooms – all that kind of thing). They look like perfectly normal humans until they begin to play. Gratitude!
Here’s a little history on Django, in case you have never heard of him. The unique left hand style he developed after surviving a fire with severe burns at age 18 that left his 4th and 5th fingers paralyzed. His grandson, David Reinhardt continues to perform guitar today.