Monday, May 14, 2007

The Sax You Don't Know

I love odd couples and communication happening on the edge of frontiers where both are lost. I tend to have the biggest problem communicating with people who grew up where I did or those who dare to make assumptions about our shared experiences that brought us to where we are.

When both parties are speaking in a borrowed, second tongue, I seem to make the deepest connection. Arrogance has no place in the land of the lost.

Thus I greatly enjoyed a rebroadcast on KQED last night of Michael Tilson Thomas' interview with James Brown, making parallels between the godfather of soul's work and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. The usually annoying MTT (especially when babbling about that particular work) actually started making sense to me, and them James Brown was downright eloquent when MTT asked him about why he will have one sax player blurt out an odd, coarse note to which he responded, "'cause he knows somethin' you don't know!" Yeah, right.

It was filled with oddities like that, such as when James Brown asked MTT what his religious background is. "Jewish. Oh, yeah, right. That's great."

These two at times seemed to have no idea what the other was saying but at others meshed in a really weird, moving way. It reminds me of that play I've always wanted to write about Eva Braun and Mother Teresa meeting in the wash room of a train bound for Istanbul and sharing a jar of hand cream, history converging and tiny bits of humanity and understanding muttered beneath the din of screaming wheels of steel. Sort of like the silences near the final movements of The Firebird and just before the bridge in Sex Machine.

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