Saturday, April 2, 2011

I love a rainy night

Photo by Dean Barrera, Flicker

While driving home one dark and soggy evening I switched to a jazz station and found myself in the middle of a piano solo that swept me away.   It was so simple and smooth, yet nimble and within the improvised notes I could detect the ghost of a song I knew.  I strained to recall it, trying to hold onto the thread of the melody as the pianist deftly tugged my mind free of familiarity, drawing me into a musical labyrinth.
There is something magical about driving alone on a rainy evening. Solitude, darkness and the white noise of falling rain muffles the outside world and tunes your ear to rhythmic ambient noise; the swoosh of passing vehicles, the deep thrum of the wipers as you wait at the light, the tick, tick, tick of the blinker, the crescendo of water spraying the sidewalk as you round the corner.
As the piano was joined by bass and drums  I felt it had to be the Keith Jarrett Trio.  I listened more carefully and my feeling was confirmed by the sound of Jarrett's voice on the live recording. He hummed and moaned along with his playing, so engaged in creating his art I imagined he didn’t even realize he was doing it.  
The beautiful noise enveloped me in it's spell and triggered my returned to 2004 when I recorded my CD Between Love and Fascination.  Before the final session, the piano player made a practice backtrack for me.  As we listened to the playback I closed my eyes and became lost in the music.  When I opened them I felt like I had been in another world and blinked in surprise to find myself back in the studio.
Oh to be able to move people like that! I was struck by such a yearning to do the same and in a Mittyesque moment I imagined myself at a keyboard.  In my mind I stretched for those same notes with confident fingers as my friends were surprised and delighted by my hidden talents.
The bass solo drew me back to reality and I bobbed my head along with each note. The piano returned, following the written melody for a moment and I was tickled to discover the song's identity. My Foolish Heart was a favourite tune I claimed as my own despite the fact it was written more than 60 years ago and was recorded by hundreds of singers and musicians.   I was not surprised when realized it was the same song that moved me to another world when I listened to the backtrack nearly ten years ago. 

On the radio Jarrett brought the tempo down once more; slower... now slower.  He hesitated, he lingered on the keys as though like me, he couldn't bear the end.  The closing notes were arpeggiated, then a trill. His touch pianissimo, the tempo diminuendo.  The final sound,  a gentle cymbal swell that echoed the shhhhhhhhh of the water beneath my tires.  As it faded into silence I quickly turned the radio off before the announcer could break the spell, and allowed the music of the falling rain to carry me home.