All That Jazz!

Words spill out.  I use the word beautiful a lot!  I mention, too often, how grateful I am or how blessed I feel.  Writing helps me to take pause, to slow down and to take real measure of how truly fortunate I am. I seem to be a more positive person when I write. However, in that part of life away from the keyboard, I can become anxious, worrying and temperamental. I thought about this last evening, after an experience of improvisational jazz music that was both rich and compelling.  I’ll make a connection between words and jazz in a moment.  Readers, bear with me.

I always think of Wendy as a connector, but more than that, a dear friend.  Out of the blue, she invited me to join her for an early evening of improvised jazz.  The musicians, percussionist Robin Tufts and trumpet player, Andre Wickenheiser, created such magic in musical dialogue, that tonight, even as I write, I get chills.

We entered through the front doorway of the ‘yellow house’ and stepped into the warm light of new friendship.  Everywhere, interesting objects told stories of inspiration and the arts. Wonderful aromas wafted from the kitchen.  Introductions were made and Pat steered us toward the two pots of stock heating on the stove top.  Hanna turned meatballs in the fry pan.  I began chopping up beets on a wooden cutting board and the conversations seamlessly wove over and under and through the lovely gathering.  The only time the words stopped, was at the invitation to gather for the music.

Words stopped.

Taken from page 107

The Power of Silence: Silent Communication in Daily Life By Colum Kenny

What was about to take place was the ‘touching of a mystery’…a silencing of words.

Andre and Robin took their seats before us and Robin invoked a minute of silence.  It was heart breaking, the silence was so beautiful.  And…out of that silence was born the most remarkable improvised jazz sound.  I was transported or emptied or released…I haven’t decided which.  I relaxed.  Words left me.  I didn’t ‘think’.  It was a wonderful experience to focus on a weeping trumpet, a laughing trumpet…a percussive response; a light bell, wood, metal, skin….a cry, a gasp, a retort.  So complex, and yet so immediate and natural.

I was a little disappointed when the music came to a peaceful close.  Words, again, flowed throughout the room.  Conversations. Reactions. Circular sifting through spaces, hot bowls of soup…bread…desserts.  A glass of wine.  It was a genuinely ‘magical’ experience.

Thank you to Pat,  Robin and Andre.  It was good to meet you; Hanna and Roberta, Jaqueline, Rayne, Claudia…

Wendy, as always, thank you.

 

 

Snow Reflections

The wet snow is falling and accumulating fast on the ground.  Max is curled at the front door on his Bambi blanket, wasted after a good workout.  I stomped and he shook as we stepped inside our warm home; a day of rest and nesting awaiting!  One or two birds eat at the feeder.  The porridge, sprinkled with raisins, is cooking on the stove top.  And I am filled with a giddy recollection of last evening, spent with two good friends.

We met at the Hyatt, where I finally heard jazz musician,  Simon Fisk and keyboardist, Sheldon Zandboer.  What an opportunity.

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Over a glass of wine, Wendy, Lauraine and I enjoyed lively conversation and then headed out to view the MOCA  Día de los Muertos altars.  It just happened to be that my artist-friend, Katherine Lakeman, had built an altar to the memory of her father, a military man who had passed away 17 years ago.  It was so good to talk to Katherine as we hadn’t seen one another in years.  Artist and writer, John Clinock, of Vancouver, does an exceptional job of covering some of the tradition of these festivities and the visual art on his current blog post here.

P1140024Papier mache sponsored by….

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Kath snuggles up with the big guy.

Kath snuggles up with the big guy.

Wendy and Kath share some laughs.

Wendy and Kath share some laughs.

Kat Lakeman and Angel

Kat Lakeman and Angel

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Angel gave us the back story and tradition of Latino communities regarding these altars to honour the dead over All Saints and All Souls days.

Angel gave us the back story and tradition of Latino communities regarding these altars to honour the dead over All Saints and All Souls days.

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Wendy gets close up with Evan Penny's Janet.

Wendy gets close up with Evan Penny’s Janet.

From MOCA, we walked down to the Art Gallery of Calgary for Canada’s Portrait Competition, a perusal of the artRISE contributions by local artists and an entertaining visit with several people I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  It was particularly great to visit with Steve Gin, Billy McCarroll who will be enjoying an opening at Jarvis Hall Fine Art Gallery today, along with his friend, Ed Edwards.  It was a full evening and I have to say that the treasure in it all was spending time with good friends…lots of laughter.

Canada's Portrait Competition

Losing Ted

When I received the news that we lost Ted Godwin this morning, I couldn’t help but hear his voice…hear his laugh.  I will go down to the Bow River later…to actually say good-bye.

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CBC Radio Interview with Jeff Spalding

Ted blessed us with his music…with his art…and with his life.  He was such a huge support to me.  He was such a huge person.  He was not timid about the way he lived his life. While I consider a few very special female artists…Bev Tosh, Joane Cardinal Schubert and most especially, Laurel Cormack, to be my mentors…Ted was my Einstein.  He was so generous with his wisdom about making art, shipping art…sharing good music in his studio…laughing through a gregarious conversation at an opening…offering advice about pretty much everything.  Ted blessed us with a very long history of Canadian art that will resonate with us always.

I recommend Ted’s books.  I received my copy of Lower Bow: A Celebration Of Wilderness, Art and Fishing at the Canadian Art Galleries opening of The Lower Bow exhibit in March of 1992.  Reading that book, changed my way of thinking about life and death as he described his visits with his family on the river.  I never saw the river in quite the same way. In fact, his passing this morning, has inspired the Christmas card that I have not yet sent.  It is almost as though I have waited for that inspiration.

We will miss you, Ted.

Photo Credit Here.

Photo Credit : Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary (MOCA Calgary)

Heart of the Matter: Don Henley

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend Music in Motion, entertainment in support of bone and joint health.  The Calgary Philharmonic played, in partnership with special guests; Tommy Banks on piano and an inspiration to one of my favourite artist’s Ted Godwin (fantastic!), trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann (first half and absolutely AMAZING) and Nikki Yanofsky and Band (second half and mostly expert jazz).  I was taken aback by the power of the music yet again!  My favourite piece the second half was an arrangement by Paul Shrofel of Don Henley’s tune, “Heart of the Matter”.  Music sticks with me.

I got the call today, I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
…People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
The trust and self-assurance that can lead to happiness
They’re the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us,
Doesn’t keep me warm

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, Baby
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you inside

I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore