What a great night!
I'd been looking forward to it for weeks. The prospect of a gig with two friends I love playing with - Chris on soprano sax, Tim on tenor sax and me with violin plugged in, at a poetry night? Can't get much better than that.
It was an "Open mouth" at Brighton's Redroaster coffee house, aimed at opening up the stage to as many poets who wanted to read, and we provided the musical interludes. So, apart from having a ball playing music, we got to hear loads of different poetry, some of which is still resonating in me today, and I tried out three newish poems to get a better sense of if they work or not.
I loved how the house piano came to life when we took the front board off, and how playing it seemed to open up the whole space with music emerging from behind as well as in front of the listeners. Angled mirrors and a high skylit ceiling offered rich resonances we could play with. A wooden chair became unexpected percussion. A brace of blown beer bottles added drones. And the rain was showering onto the glass roof at a point when we were too loud to really hear it. I watched it driving like full-on percussion, wire brushes on snares and let that groove my sounds. And Tim's words, sudden, almost a shock to hear him, like I had forgotten that we had the option of speaking.
Touching, somehow, that we can never play that music again. Music of the moment. Spontaneous composition. Evolving elusive ensemble. Those pieces are gone. Free improvisation all over. Set free.
Maybe it's still resounding in the high corners of that beautiful room? Maybe the closed piano has a hint of those sounds still inside, held onto, kept? Maybe shining as fragments in the minds of some of the people who were so encouraging and generous with their praise?
There are infinite possibilities for the three of us to create new music together. And that's something I will always look forward to. But last night has reminded me that I'm curious to find ways for words and music to come even closer together to generate interesting and meaningful pieces.
A bee in my bonnet. Work in progress. I just haven't found satisfying ways to do it yet.