Wednesday, 18 June 2008

ad lib

Tuning up. You flashed past me, camouflaged against the shimmer of leaf shadows. You swept up into the dark green shade of tall sycamores behind me. I felt the stare of your beady eye. 

Later, as one of our phrases dipped down, I wasn't surprised to hear your luscious song erupt into glory and I was laughing out loud at the perfect fluidity of your song. In the depths of a dark jazz club, this would have been the moment to introduce you to the crowd, encourage them to applaud your solo, but we were in a garden on a Sunday afternoon, playing music against the backdrop of  beautiful woodland that dipped into the shadows of the Downs. We were in your garden, creating sounds and you came to jam with us - spectacularly. 

In a week, I was back with a different companion and you swooped past the pond announcing the gig full blast as soon as we arrived. We were hoping you would be there. I had thought of nothing else all week. We let your sounds plunge into the spaces we created, responded to your calls, let your themes ignite new ideas, listened out for your liquid obligato rising over the patterns and loops we played. In the beautiful still evening as we left, I wanted to stay and play on with you through the crescendo chorus of the dusk.

After another week, I returned for the final show, wondering if it was too much to wish for your company. But as I set up in the damp quiet of a stormy afternoon, and waited for my duo partner, I saw your stop-and-go scuttling across the lawn. You made a dive under the shrubbery. Did you see me grinning at you? Did you hear my heart miss a beat at the thought of making music with you again? 

During a long improvisation full of ideas that I wished we had recorded, you came into the branches right above me. A dense confetti of sounds fell all around me. I was anointed by the metallic rain that came pouring from your full and quivering throat. On and on you sang and I thought I heard a little hint of something we had played earlier, but I was dizzy in the sound of you and the weight of all conscious thought dropped away.

Packing away my instrument, I was daydreaming about a house full of light and music and the song of a blackbird. The house backed onto woodland. It was my house.