Monday, December 18, 2017

Sunday Jazz

We received an impromptu invitation, "Tomorrow night Matthew will play us a little jazz, 6pm in the club room. If you are around, come join us." The invitation came from the parents of Matthew who is visiting from New York City for Christmas. The date for this inspiring wassail was Sunday, December 17th exactly one week before Christmas Eve.  It couldn't have been a nicer way to kick off the Season!

Like many successful people in the entertainment business, 29-year old Matthew is not hard on the eyes. But if you really want to understand his success it isn't his strapping good looks that entertain but the way he looks when he entertains.  Allow me to explain.

Watching Matthew perform is a study in self-expression, the heartfelt effusion of an uncommonly talented person. What was especially telling to me as the crowd began to assemble in the club room was the gusto with which Matthew launched his performance.  This was clearly not an imposition for him but rather something he positively relished! Though his playing was as extemporaneous as the invitation to hear him, he cobbled together a thoroughly professional rendition of sometimes dazzlingly complicated improvisations.  And all with a smile and the characteristic simpatico of a truly connected artist. Matthew was engaged with his audience. He had us tapping our feet or snapping our fingers or humming along as he played. This was his undisputed vernacular.

And he played for two hours!  It was more than a "little jazz", it was a galaxy of tunes and equally brilliant! We certainly hadn't expected to be treated to an unscripted production of such duration. No doubt it was Matthew's musical versatility which effortlessly lubricated the passage of time. Part way through the evening he withdrew his saxophone from its small black carrying case and treated us to several delightful renditions on his preferred instrument.

Afterwards we posited opinions regarding Matthew's unfeigned performance. Though one might have imagined his reluctance to entertain people of his parents' age nothing could have been further from the truth. What obviously motivated him was his sheer pleasure in playing for us. Our reciprocity if any was our unquestionable gratitude for his time and energy. Though entertainers no more than any others survive on air he at least has the consolation of knowing we appreciated his many years of concentrated study and practice which led to this commendable fruition. His was truly a gift in the spirit of Christmas!

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