I once had a student tell me out of the blue that I had an old soul. I thought that was the nicest and truest thing that could be said of me. Maybe that’s why I chose to be a musician in the first place. I have a career where I can choose to go back in time whenever I wish. Making music from the past is having some sort of authentic connection to that past.
Music is rather like time travel, isn’t it? Just listening to it is like you going on a journey just for a bit, riding along and hearing stories and emotions or getting impressions from the time period or an experience. Your tour guide tells you a bit as time is filled with a melody which gives a picture of something in sound for a minute or ten. Maybe more. Sure he can’t tell you everything, but you get a good idea as you travel on through the song.
Musicians though, we get to be the medium for the actual experience of sound. We take a Bach sonata and decide if here we slow down or there we frame this note in a bit more of silence. It’s all Bach, but it’s the experience that is personal. Because they’ve left their music for us, if you sit with it long enough you too will swear that you are having a conversation with them in your very room as you make decisions about what to do with it.
Tonight I’m listening to Billie singing at the Savoy. It’s bringing me to that place where I might just need to get to a piano and have a conversation with her. Sure my voice is not for public consumption, but this isn’t for the world. It’s between Billie and I.