Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dread Glock Ascending

Last night, heading out of Lincoln Center in search of a bite to eat, my daughter and I were struck by a wild music bouncing around in the air outside Alice Tully Hall. Got up closer to the corner and we saw him: a gentleman of about my age (50-something) in graying dreadlocks, playing the hell out of a glockenspiel. It was something out of the weird world of free jazz, a kind of pseudo-major-scale bebop, with stuttering rhythms like the uneven stop and start and shuffling feet and murmur of the small crowd flowing around him.

It sounded like a tribute to Varese, like a flower on his tomb. We had just come out of the "Varese: (R)evolution" concert at Avery Fisher and Varese posters were draped all over the place at Lincoln Center, particularly at Alice Tully, where Part One of the Varese concerts had been the night before. With that exquisitely monstrous music still in our heads--huge full orchestra, a dozen percussionists--here comes this street performer, testifying to the same powerful vision of beauty one note at a time. Maybe he had been there too, at the concert. Or maybe he just knew--his hand on a lever of truth. The way I knew before I ever walked into the concert hall (where I had it all, all my faith reaffirmed). The way hopefully my daughter will know now for the rest of her life. And he wanted to share it.

Reminded me of the old days, before New York became a shopping mall. Something found on the street, letting the tinkling craziness wash over us and the whole city and the hot night. Oddly beautiful moments that come with no packaging, no explanation, no currency equivalent, and that you know you'll remember for the rest of your life.


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