The rain is on the plain in Spain. Lame. It finally got cold today. I keep seeing all of these facebook posts about people being happy fall is here. I’ll take that J month, July to be precise. Next to a large body of water if possible. There is a park two blocks from where I live that I like to run at. Plenty of track space and I feel safe enough to run at night. It has a beautiful view of Madrid from the top of a hill that I see 4x each time I run my laps. You can see the financial sector (the only part of Madrid that really has skyscrapers) and into the southwest corner of the city. If you turn your back to the city, you can see about 10 miles out onto the plains of the country surrounding Madrid. One of the beautiful things about Madrid is the variety of architecture. You have red clay colored buildings, historic churches and mosques with their elaborate spires sticking up here and there. There are yellow creme colored residential flats in the La Latina district with beautiful terraces. Upper-scale clubs and hotels will often use decorative lighting on their buildings to draw attention. There is no lack of construction either, often in busy places remodeling a part of the metro or knocking down a building to make something better.
My unique musical experience since the last time I posted happened at a club I checked along the Calle del Prado. It had the anticipated techno dj setup going on. Heart-pounding beats, simple melodies. But there was a sax player. He would hook his microphone onto the bell of his horn and rip out these enormous riffs, piercing the room and snatching the attention of everyone on the dance floor. A fantastic player, he certainly wasn’t above pausing to take a picture with some of the people dancing. He even played a European techno version of the blues. I was amazed because I had never heard someone use a saxophone like that before and jealous because I wasn’t the one up there.
One thing that draws me to the saxophone lies partially in what I saw last night. From a dance club in Madrid to a polka band for a wedding in Kansas to a jazz club on Peoria St. in Tulsa to the concert stage with an orchestra in Atlanta, I have seen the saxophone used in so many different contexts. Certainly, it is one of the most versatile of instruments.
Arthur White, director of jazz studies at Mizzou, just released an album called Vertigo. He brought out vibraphonist Mike Mainieri to help him record it with the jazz band (which I was in at the time). Mainieri is certainly one of the true legends from the New York City scene. He is a short man with greying hair and an easygoing disposition (a rarity for anyone from New York as far as I’m concerned). Never lacking the time to smile and make a catchy joke, he is pushing 76. A true icon. I encourage you to check out the album, there is a nice review of it in the Columbia Missourian that you can find here:
If you want to buy or listen to clips from the album you can go here:
I have solos on Tee Bag (track 1) and Bullett Train (track 3).
If you don’t know who Kenny Garrett is from the last post and want to hear someone I highly respect, here is an example of his work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K060F3bRXKg