Monday, January 3, 2011

Miracle Music

Color Blind: In 1972, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and several other black jazz musicians went to Yale University to play and raise money for aspiring black musicians. During one performance, a bomb threat was called in, and police rushed to move the musicians to safety. Mingus refused to quit playing, saying "Racism planted that bomb, but racism ain't strong enough to kill this music."

Beth Ullman, an incredible jazz singer, wrote "Charlie's Last Stand" about this story.  She sang this song New Year's Eve at a small concert in her home: a gift to us, a perfect way to end 2010 and begin 2011. 

In Keith Richards' bio Life, he says "I didn't know Chuck Berry was black for two years after I first heard his music....and for ages I didn't know Jerry Lee Lewis was white....It was hardly important. It was the sound that was important."

Soulful: Music touches everyone, even the rhythm-deficient and the tone deaf. In fact, it may mean even more to those of us with very little musical talent, because we need music as a saguaro cactus needs water. I can't produce music, but I need it.

I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. [Igor Stravinsky]

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. [Confucius]

Universal: We've all heard the stories of a lone violin or piano playing in the midst of war, yet calming both sides. We've all heard music from different cultures, yet we feel a kinship to the musicians. We've all heard music in languages we don't understand, yet we understand the song. 

As an adult, I was initially drawn to classical music and European opera precisely because there are no coherent words to engage my mind; I can just revel in the pure enjoyment of the notes.

Musical compositions, it should be remembered, do not inhabit certain countries, certain museums, like paintings and statues. The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg; I have it in my pocket. [Henri Rabaud]

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. [Alphonse de Lamartine]

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. [Victor Hugo]

Beyond Man: In my opinion, music is "of man," yet is "beyond any one man." Angels sing. The miracle of music transcends humanity, drawing us to one another, while simultaneously drawing us to a higher level of being, and a better us.

If I can write the songs of the nations, I don't care who writes the laws. [Plato]

Music cleanses the understanding, inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. [Henry Ward Beecher]

It is incontestable that music indues in us a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of the invisible. [Victor de LaPrade]

Play on.

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