Sunday, September 30, 2012

KC down and back

"It's very difficult for me to dislike an artist. No matter what he's creating, the fact that he's experiencing the joy of creation makes me feel like we're in a brotherhood of some kind... we're in it together." — Chick Corea 

I'M SITTING IN the backyard enjoying the gorgeous weather — and watching the furry kids walk around and enjoy it, too. I have a guilty conscience because I intended to door-knock for the Obama campaign this afternoon. I told them I would, but I just don't feel quite up to it today after the late drive home last night. The kitchen is also in desperate need of major cleaning. It's calling my name whenever I walk in there. 

We took great pleasure in our Chick Corea and Gary Burton concert last night. It was held in the Gem Theater. It seats 436 people and lives up to its name; it's truly a little gem of a theater. I'd forgotten that I'd been able to get second-row seats which put us about 15 feet away from the performers. It felt like having Gary and Chick in our living room to play for us. 

The view from our seats of Chick on the piano and Gary on the vibes taken with my iPhone.

Last night's stop in Kansas City is part of their Hot House tour, promoting their new album of the same name. 

The CD cover. Of course I bought one for Paul!

Here's what Chick's website has to say about the tour: "Chick and Gary Burton perform material from their new album Hot House, exploring their unique takes on “standards” — by composers from Kurt Weill and Antonio Carlos Jobim to Thelonious Monk and Lennon & McCartney. The multiple Grammy-winning duo also adds the Harlem String Quartet on select dates, expanding their legendary chamber-jazz repertoire on Chick’s composition 'Mozart Goes Dancing' and classic Chick & Gary tunes."

Chick and the Harlem String Quartet taken with my iPhone, so the quality isn't so great.

I asked Paul what his favorite tune of the night was, and he said, "All of them." My favorites were My Ship, by Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill and Eleanor Rigby, but I also really liked an original Chick Corea composition called Mozart Goes Dancing. 

Then I asked Paul which of the two musicians he liked best, and he said, "Can't choose. They're both the best." 

I give my personal edge to Gary; I'm not the musician in the family, so I get to have my uninformed taste. I like the understated way he comports himself while still playing as dynamically and with as much musical expression as Chick. Gary manages to make so much music with just the four mallets, whereas Chick has 10 fingers to use, and Gary has to stand up the whole the time; ya' gotta give him a little extra credit for that alone. Without exception, however, they were both utterly and completely phenomenal, and the ease and unspoken communication between them is something else. 

We were one of the lucky stops where the Harlem String Quartet joined Gary and Chick for the second half of the show. They were ab/fab and great fun to watch this diverse group of young people perform with so much energy and excellence.

The concert was a surprise present for Paul because he's been a huge fan of both of these legends since he was 15. I debated whether or not I should get tickets, though, because I knew we'd be going two nights after his almost 24-hour marathon gig, what with driving and all — and today he has another gig, this one in Oskaloosa, after not getting home last night until 1:30 in the morning, and on top of everything else, he has a really bad cold. 

I drove half the way down and all the way home so that he could rest as best he could. I kept my fingers crossed that in the end, Paul would feel like he'd had an unforgettable musical experience. He did.

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